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Staff Favorites - Steve Bearden
Steve Bearden | Send Email | Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
I’m the Bordeaux liason for the San Francisco store, starting my run there around 2000. Over the years I've gained a great respect for subtlety, finesse, elegance and terroir, or a sense of place, that I believe all great wine should have. I enjoy practically anything and everything but mostly French and Italian with heavy emphasis on Rhône and Bordeaux. Be adventurous. There is tremendous diversity in regions, varieties and styles, so don’t let your palate get pigeon-holed.
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2012 Elderton "Estate" Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 10-22-2014
There is a fine sense of proportion and balance to this big, brash wine which offers a measure of restraint to the bold fruit. The flavors and aromas of blackberry, plum, pepper, mint, spice and smoke are lifted by fine grained tannins, moderate acid and a persistent limestone infused finish. In today's market for world class wines, this is a screaming value.
2012 Pessagno "Central Avenue" Monterey County Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-16-2014
During a recent visit to the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation we discovered this outstanding value at tiny Pessagno Winery and bought it on the spot. This family-run boutique has a small portfolio of distinctive wines and this refreshing Pinot is one of the most elegant we encountered in the region. This is medium-bodied with aromas of spice, cherry and rhubarb that tingle the senses. The persistent cherry-vanilla fruit is enhanced by hints of tree bark, tea and a surprising minerality that lends a refreshing note to the finish. This is rare quality/price ratio for Pinot Noir.
2012 La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica
Review Date: 9-21-2014
Matelica is a north-south running valley with warm days and cool nights, resulting in some of the best Verdicchio in all of Italy. This richly textured wine has sweet pit fruit, stony minerality and a super intense finish. Don't miss this unique and delicious bargain.
2012 Joseph Jewell Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 9-18-2014
This has the weight and texture you expect of Pinot from the Russian River Valley yet remains pure, bright and dry. An array of ripe red fruits, touches of earth and hints of spice evolve and expand as this opens up in the glass and the palate cleansing finish is clean and snappy.
2013 Domaine Renaud Mâcon-Solutré
Review Date: 9-5-2014
This vibrant, mineral-laced bargain has been a staff favorite for many years running and always seems to sell out far too quickly. This has more cut and verve than the rounder and richer Macon-Charnay (a non-stop customer favorite) but still has plenty of pear, apple and citrus flavors to temper the palate-cleansing acidity and mouthwatering minerality. Yes, there are still bargains in Burgundy.
2010 Scali "Kalkis Vineyard" Pinotage Paarl
Review Date: 8-19-2014
This is hands-down the finest expression of this varietal I have ever tasted. This smells like a clean, classy N. Rhone Syrah with its sweet, dark raspberry fruit, spice and iron minerality on the finish. This is sophisticated, perfectly proportioned and delicious. If you hate Pinotage or love Pinotage or have never tasted Pinotage, do yourself a favor and try this tonight.
Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-6-2014
This 50% Chardonnay 50% Pinot Meunier blend, which is aged over four years on the lees, remains one of my all-time favorite Champagnes we stock here at K&L. This dry bubbly is rich and full with wonderful sweetness to the spiced apple fruit. The finish is so long, complex and persistent you will compare it to bottles costing three to four times as much. Super quality and super bang for the buck here.
2013 Kalinda Napa Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 8-6-2014
If you are tired of soft, blowsy California Chardonnay and have almost given up on the category this will surprise and refresh you. This is firm and toasty with stone fruit and lemon oil flavors, a touch of honey and a complex leesy note on the finish. There is wonderful freshness and vibrancy to this rich and beautifully balanced wine.
2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 7-16-2014
I am a big fan of the entire TWR portfolio but my favorite is always this vibrant Sauvignon Blanc because of its pure flavors and rich texture. Herb, melon, crushed citrus and just a hint of musk add complexity to this weighty but very refreshing value.
2009 Baricci Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 7-15-2014
This young wine is already showing enough complexity and elegance to pair with the finest fare. Sweet dusty cherry, soft earth and a touch of spice are present in this surprisingly sophisticated bottling. The finishing tannin is well integrated so decant tonight and enjoy.
2009 Ferrero Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 7-15-2014
When we tasted this young wine recently I was surprised at how warm and approachable it was. This is ripe, broad and fleshy with sweet plum and baked earth aromas and flavors and gentle, ripe tannin. Decant this for an hour and enjoy tonight.
2009 Nairac, Sauternes
Review Date: 7-14-2014
This sensational wine combines aromas and flavors of clover honey, saffron, pineapple, orange spice tea and sweet scented wildflowers. Full-bodied without being unctuous, an oily sleekness holds the mid-palate and a mineral/acid tension glides along the long finish. This really over-delivers for the price.
Can Mayol Loxarel "999" Cava Brut Rosé Penedes
Review Date: 7-5-2014
This is a bone dry and serious bottle of bubbly offered at a ridiculous price. With its sophisticated bead, laser like red fruit flavors of cherry and berry and steely finish, this would be right at home with the classiest of fare. Try this with surf & turf or sushi and don't be embarrassed by the price.
2011 Domaine Lafage "Tessellae Old Vines" Côtes du Roussillon
Review Date: 5-7-2014
This wine always drinks well above its humble price point and the latest version doesn't disappoint. Although it displays an impressive mid-palate richness (think blackcurrant and dark chocolate) it still manages to remain balanced and fresh. And while it's a no brainer to enjoy with beef, grilled chicken or pork roast, it will also pair well with more savory vegetarian fare like grilled veggies, portobello mushroom burgers or even vegetarian moussaka. Delicious and so versatile!
Drink from 2014 to 2018
2013 Les Vignerons de Fontès "Prieuré Saint-Hippolyte" Languedoc Rosé
Review Date: 5-1-2014
This is just a tad fresher and cleaner than last year's version, but still retains the juicy and roly poly cascade of fruit you expect from this easy-drinking bargain. The warm days of summer are on their way, and for good reason this is one of our best selling pink wines year after year--so stock up.
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