Staff Favorites - Steve Bearden

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.


Reviews

  
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2007 Fleur Cardinale, St-Emilion
Review Date: 08-23-2016
This is full and rich for the vintage with raspberry, earth and oak aromas. There is a deep core of fleshy red and black fruit along with a touch of licorice and ripe tannin to accent the limestone kissed finish. The body is surprisingly plump with plenty of sweetness to the oodles of blue and black fruit.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 ST 90

2014 Lamouroux Blanc, Graves
Review Date: 08-23-2016
I love this juicy white for its flowery aromas and mouth filling middle of spiced apricot and honeyed peach. There is a lanolin-like fatness to the body before the stony finish of fresh rain water and pebbles kick in. This goes down very easily.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

2007 Labegorce Zede, Margaux
Review Date: 08-23-2016
This is dark and refined with black cherry fruit, mineral, a touch of spice and scents of dried, crushed flowers. The middle is smooth and subtle on this traditionally styled wine which has a mineral streak on the elegant finish of red fruits and berries. Old school and very easy to like.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

2014 Domaine des Falaises "Angelliaume" Chinon
Review Date: 08-23-2016
This sweet little value is quite complex on the nose and palate with tobacco, mild spice, savory herb, wild raspberry fruit and a finish that reminds me of ice cold well water. Quite silky and fine for the for the price; this will remind you of the tasty, food friendly carafes that are ubiquitous at Parisian cafes.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2007 Malescasse, Haut-Medoc
Review Date: 08-23-2016
Here is an amazing bargain approaching 10 years of age and priced to buy by the case. This is very expressive with effusive aromas and flavors of raspberry and rhubarb fruit along with cedar chest and cigar box. Bargain hunters need to taste this crisp, fruity and very complex beauty.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 Pessac-Léognan de Haut Bailly, Pessac-Leognan
Review Date: 08-23-2016
This is the third wine of Chateau Haut-Bailly and the pedigree shines through even at the very affordable price. Bright and crunchy currants, earth tones and intense mineral notes enhance the length on the sophisticated palate. The gravely finish of cocoa and chalk is long and lingering.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2009 Moulin La Lagune, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 08-21-2016
The 2nd wine of Chateau La Lagune, while more approachable than its big brother, is still rich, broad and sweet with a fair amount of heft. This has black cherry fruit, aromas of damp earth and a woodsy character that with air turns somewhat smoky and meaty. The sweet tannin on the finish and overall sense of proportion make this very drinkable. Decanting recommended.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2014 Domaine Marc Colin St-Aubin 1er Cru "La Chateniere"
Review Date: 08-19-2016
Here is a great bargain in ready to drink white Burgundy from an appellation known to over deliver. This starts out toasty with hints of talc and wet stones before the sweetness of the ripe yellow fruit take over in the plush middle. There is depth, balance and a long mineral finish to this very drinkable bottle.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
BH 92 RP 91

2014 Domaine Marc Colin "Les Charmois" St. Aubin 1er Cru
Review Date: 08-19-2016
This is finer, longer and has a more pronounced mineral strike than the "La Chateniere" bottling, but what it gives up in richness and weight it more than makes up for in intensity and complexity. This has the stature and elegance of a much more expensive bottle from a more prestigious appellation.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
BH 91 RP 90

2009 de Chantegrive Rouge, Graves
Review Date: 08-19-2016
Here is an easy to drink wine of great character with all the rounded warmth you expect for the 2009 vintage. Aromas of scorched earth, tar and roasted fruit lead to a smooth body of dark plums and ripe currants. This has gentle mineral and fine, ripe tannins on the supple finish. Always a delicious bargain.

1996 Bel Air Lagrave, Moulis-en-Medoc
Review Date: 08-18-2016
What a fantastic bargain in mature and delicious Bordeaux from a great vintage. This has warm dark plum and cherry fruit along with aromas of damp clay and earth in a sweet, crisp body. You can detect cedar, steeped tea and soft, ripe fruit along with a caressing leather tinged finish. No need to decant if you are in a hurry.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2012 Les Brulières de Beychevelle, Haut-Medoc
Review Date: 08-18-2016
The team at Chateau Beychevelle gives us this smooth, balanced and impeccably made wine. This has loads of rich, dark fruit, great texture and hints of cocoa and cola on the tasty finish. Another not to be missed exuberant and easy to drink bottle from the affordable 2012 vintage.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

2015 Château d'Aqueria Tavel Rose
Review Date: 08-16-2016
This has all the weight and texture that you expect from Tavel but with a bit more lift and freshness, probably due to the spectacular 2015 vintage in the Rhone. Big flavors of juicy watermelon, ripe cherry, citrus and spice end with a resounding mineral slap that keeps this substantial Rose' palate cleansing, food friendly and refreshing. One of the best Tavels I've tasted in a long while.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
DC 95 RP 91

2009 Louis Brochet "Millésimé" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-16-2016
This dazzling bubbly will remind you of a rich sparkling Burgundy from a warm, dry vintage. Small amounts of barrel aging add weight and texture to this rich and sumptuous bottle that marries oodles of ripe fruit and mineral laced intensity on the long finish. Ultra bang for the buck here.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2010 Tronquoy de St-Anne, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 08-06-2016
Chateau Montrose is on a roll with this property and the 2010 version is even better than the outstanding 2009. This starts out dark and rich with blackberry, cassis and cocoa flavors that are rich but stay focused due to the fine tannic grip on the finish. The tight core of ripe Merlot is deeper and the aromatics somewhat less earthy than last vintage , but overall this is a more serious and complete bottling.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2009 Poujeaux, Moulis
Review Date: 07-27-2016
Blackberry, raspberry and warm fig ooze from this seamlessly textured, gentle and rich wine. This is plump and soft with no edges showing and no tannin peeking through the pillows of ripe, decadent fruit. Will age gracefully but this is delicious now.

2011 Le Tertre du Bosquet Sauternes
Review Date: 07-26-2016
This is light to medium weight with a fresh, clean personality and a very mineral finish with a touch of bitter grapefruit pith. I taste tangerine, honey, soft peach, saffron, spice and hints of tarragon.. This is not particularly fat or tropical but is a very sweet and refreshing drink at a bargain price.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2012 Hess Collection "19 Block Mountain Cuvée" Mount Veeder Red Blend
Review Date: 07-26-2016
This interesting blend starts out with notes of effusive mixed berries, cherry liqueur and unsweetened dark chocolate. The opulent middle of spiced blackberry fruit has enough tension to hold the ripeness in check and allow some pleasingly tangy mountain elements to peak through. Overall, a rich, plush and satisfying bottle.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 JS 90

2013 Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 07-22-2016
This rich, smooth and creamy wine is classic Napa Valley floor through and through. Oodles of plush and sweet fruit smother the ripe tannins as this glides across your palate. Go ahead and decant but don't feel you need to wait on this in-your-face and approachable bottling. Lovers of Caymus take note.
Price: $46.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2012 Peyrabon, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 07-20-2016
This easy to love wine from the folks at Domain Chevalier was a big hit at the July Bordeaux tasting in San Francisco due to its bang for buck ratio and overall quality. There is seamless balance to this dark and smooth blackberry filled wine which has earthy potting soil aromas and an ash-like quality in the rich middle. The finish is gentle with just a whisper of very fine tannin. This should be your next case purchase.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
WE 90 - 92

2009 Lamothe Bergeron, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 07-20-2016
The owner of Château Angelus is consulting here and it shows in this delicious, mildly earthy wine that is modern and super flavorful. Toasty and smooth with sweet red fruit flavors and ripe, round tannins.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 90

2013 Reyneke Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 07-20-2016
This barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc is leesy and round, with the oak adding more texture than flavor. Freshly mowed hay, blanched nuts, pear skin and mouthwatering minerals form the body of this smooth and refreshing value. Here is one to buy by the case.
Price: Hidden View Price
RP 90 WS 90

2015 Ermitage "Victor" Costières de Nîmes Rosé
Review Date: 07-20-2016
Costieres de Nimes is directly across the river from Chateauneuf-du-Pape and the vineyards consist of large pebbles just like that famed appellation, yet the wines are far more affordable. This is crisp, very complex, super refreshing and amazingly food friendly. Here is a juicy, spicy easy to gulp summer bottle to buy by the case.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2004 Moulin-Haut-Laroque, Fronsac
Review Date: 07-20-2016
This is dark and fresh with raspberry, currant and earthy aromas and good middle weight. There is a smooth, plush texture with no edges or noticeable tannin and good ripeness on this easy to drink bargain. A ready to drink wine with a lot of life ahead.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2012 L'Arrosée, St-Emilion
Review Date: 07-20-2016
This substantial wine is elegant, balanced and very easy to drink. Aromas of oak dark cherries and mixed berries mingle with muted, leafy and earthy tones in this complex bottling. There is a mouth watering and juicy quality to the finish which keeps you reaching for another sip.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 JS 90

2013 Rivella Barbera d'Alba
Review Date: 07-13-2016
The former wine maker for Gaja has his own gig now and not only are the wines outstanding but you can actually afford to buy and drink them. This is earthy with tons of spiced berry fruit and a bright but smooth personality. This lively, focused and food friendly bottle would be perfect for summer BBQs.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2012 Cantine Ascheri Barolo
Review Date: 07-12-2016
Here is a wine of power and finesse with plenty of dusty grip to offset the sweet red fruit in the middle. This is truly dry with impeccable balance between the earth, ripe fruit, mineral, tannin and leather. True class at a bargain price.
Price: Hidden View Price
WS 94 JS 92

2012 Calcu Cabernet Sauvignon Colchagua Valley
Review Date: 07-07-2016
There is discreet ripeness to the dark flavors and restrained structure to the body of this well-made and surprisingly serious and affordable Cabernet. The baked plum and black cherry fruit show purity, sweetness, spice and uplifting acidity where the fine tannins add length to the finish. This drinks well above its price.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
DC 92

2015 Claude Riffault "La Noue" Sancerre Rosé
Review Date: 07-07-2016
Aromas of juicy cherry, watermelon and well water jump from the glass as soon as this is poured. This is aristocratic and pure with intense focus on the middle palate of freshly sliced fruit and the mineral-soaked, saline finish. A bit more classy than your average picnic rosé.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2000 Sarget de Gruaud Larose, St-Julien
Review Date: 07-07-2016
Darker in color and more closed aromatically than the 1999, this shows the power and structure of the vintage with sweeter fruit and a deeper core of richness. This is full-bodied, chewy and classically styled with ripe tannins embedded in the crunchy currant and dark plum fruit. Decant this for an hour and enjoy with hearty food.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

2002 La Tour de By, Médoc
Review Date: 07-06-2016
Here is a bargain in 14 year old Bordeaux to pair with a Tuesday night burger or even a light picnic. This shows earth, cedar and herb notes matched to crisp cranberry and bright cherry fruit in a clean, savory style. This is traditionally made and very easy to drink.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2014 Cave de Rasteau "Dame Victoria" Rasteau
Review Date: 07-06-2016
This hearty and rustic wine is my go to for summer BBQs and informal get togethers. This is spicy and robust with earthy black and red fruit and tons of wild berries, lavender and mineral. An amazingly versatile crowd pleaser.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2015 Terra Santa Ile de Beaute Rosé (Corsica)
Review Date: 06-30-2016
This expressive rose' from Corsica is 100% Sciaccarellu and is as delicious as it is hard to pronounce. This is crisp and textured with snappy berry fruit and notes of strawberry and raspberry on the distinctive finish. its time to discover rose' from Corsica!
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart

2001 Labegorce, Margaux
Review Date: 06-22-2016
This very traditional wine is silky, elegant, dry and oh so subtle. Dried cherries, soft smoky plums and cedar are burnished by notes of leather, sandalwood, tobacco and a long, satin textured finish. Old school Bordeaux but without the rusticity.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2009 La Velona Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 06-22-2016
This is soft, warm, caressing and just delicious to drink over the next several years. Oodles of lush, baked cherry fruit, earth, and herb meld into a long mineral laced finish. The tannins are ripe and enveloped in the plush texture of this food-friendly wine.

2010 Lynch-Bages, Pauillac
Review Date: 06-21-2016
Yet another deep, clean and absolutely packed cellar candidate from this overachieving fifth growth. After an hour decanting the complex aromas of raspberries, mint, licorice, violets and spice begin to show the potential here. The body is concentrated and effortless, with the powerful middle of sweet cassis giving way to a long, dry finish of graphite-dusted and polished tannin. This is class in a glass.

2013 Dierberg "Dierberg Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 06-11-2016
This starts out toasty with aromas of Honeycrisp apple and fresh cut melon. The juicy middle has peach, apricot and white fig flavors that are rich but stay clean and focused right down to the bracing, mineral infused finish. Nicely done!

2013 Brancaia "Tre" Toscana
Review Date: 06-11-2016
This fantastic wine has plenty of character and a small price tag. The sleek, crisp body holds an array of spiced berry and black cherry fruit, a touch of savory herb and earth and a fresh and lively texture. This is an affordable, complex and versatile bottle for pizza, pasta, burgers or any BBQ.
Price: $16.95 Add To Cart
JS 92

2015 Fromm "La Strada" Rosé Marlborough
Review Date: 06-11-2016
I have long admired the fantastic Pinots and Sauvignon Blancs from Fromm Winery but tasting this rose' was something of a revelation. This unusual and delicious wine is a blend of Pinot Noir and Malbec and needs to be tasted by all lovers of pink wine. This has it all; citrus, juicy watermelon, grapefruit rind, mixed berries and raspberries and cream.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
BC 93 SK 93

2012 Terra Sancta "Estate" Pinot Noir Bannockburn Central Otago
Review Date: 06-11-2016
This is a supple wine with layered texture and very fine tannin on the detailed finish. Very earthy aromas and flavors of cherries and plums and a potpourri of savory herbs and wild flowers fill the mid-palate and seem to expand as the wine takes on air. This is nuanced, compelling and amazingly complex for the money. in a market saturated with over priced Pinots that under deliver this is a bargain.

2014 Calera Central Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 06-09-2016
A tad richer than past vintages but still one of the freshest and most palate cleansing whites of its style made in California. This is lively and balanced with a fruit packed middle of spiced apple and honeydew melon and a long, clean finish of citrus and mineral.

2012 Lyeth Sonoma County Meritage
Review Date: 06-03-2016
This is a great go to bottle for folks who like their reds domestic, full-bodied, smooth, rich and affordable. There is a reason that this is a best seller: simply put, you can spend much more money and not get a better wine for the style. California Cabernet lovers should buy this by the case.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2012 Casa Castillo "Las Gravas" Jumilla
Review Date: 06-03-2016
This hearty and somewhat brambly wine is ripe, sweet and very earthy. The mid-palate is deep and full of smoky blue and black fruit that seem to gain intensity with air. The mineral-laced finish is long and the deeply embedded tannins are suave and fine.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2009 Trimbach "Cuvée Frédéric Émile" Riesling Alsace
Review Date: 06-03-2016
Crushed stone fruit, citrus blossoms, white peach, lanolin and a long, stony finish all strike the senses simultaneously in this weighty and bone-dry wine. Although still stern in its youth, there is a depth of richness that a few years in a cellar will greatly reward. This is a concentrated, focused white steeped in dry extract and limestone minerality.

2011 Finca El Encinal Crianza Ribera del Duero
Review Date: 06-02-2016
This amazing value is dark and crisp with a long, dry finish and wonderful clarity. Dried plum and black cherry fruit with touches of baking chocolate and cedar add complexity to this satisfying and food friendly bargain.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
WS 92

2012 Amapola Creek Sonoma Valley "Monte Rosso" Zinfandel
Review Date: 05-31-2016
This bold Zin is big and peppery with spiced raspberry and dark currant fruit in a firm and structured style. Despite the spice and fruit intensity this drinks like a fine claret with classy lines, nice length and beautiful proportion.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2012 Château de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Lirac
Review Date: 04-27-2016
This Chateauneuf-du-Pape wannabe comes from 50-to-90 year old vines and could go head to toe against any $50.00 wine from anywhere in the world in my opinion. This is dark and spicy with deep blue and black fruit, a touch of earth and very fine, ripe embedded tannins imparting wonderful structure. The proportion, balance and overall harmony make for a wine that is drinkable now but will improve for up to a decade in a cool cellar.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 WS 90

2012 Domaine du Pégaü "Cuvée Réservée" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 03-17-2016
This consistent property is one of my favorites from the region and seems to always over-deliver. Classic aromas and flavors of earth, seaweed, ripe cherries and licorice are strong and pure in this richly textured wine. The long, sweet finish hints at black raspberries and Indian spices that mingle with the ripe, rounded and tongue-coating tannins. Although delicious now, this property seems to out-cellar almost any Chateauneuf-du-Pape that sells for less than $100.

2006 Baron Fuente "Grand Millesime" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 03-17-2016
The entire Baron Fuente line up is just spectacular but this bottling stands out not just because of the quality of the vintage but also for how fine and lacy it is compared to the other offerings. The sweetness and purity of fruit you expect from this property is there but also a more pronounced strike of minerality that lets the finish last just a bit longer. This is fantastic quality in vintage Champagne for $30.00.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

Baron Fuente "Galipettes" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 03-17-2016
This 100% organic Champagne is a knockout and would be a bargain at twice the price. A super expressive nose of wedding cake and buttered toast explodes from this sparkler and with air begins to hint at dark fruit. The mid-palate is rich, ripe and frothy showcasing more dark fruit and ends with mineral drive on the long, intense finish.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

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