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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2012 Casa Castillo "Las Gravas" Jumilla
Review Date: 01-09-2016
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

2013 Mas Alta "Black Slate" La Vilella Alta Priorat
Review Date: 01-09-2016
This is fat, lush and seamless, with a layered texture and great aromatic intensity. The middle of blueberry and blackberry compote and the aroma of crushed wildflowers are beautifully tempered by the finish of mineral, iron and cold slate.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart
RP 95

2013 Mayacamas Napa Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 01-09-2016
This starts out slightly toasty with clean and pure flavors of Asian pear, green apple and lemon peel. There is great intensity to the sweet and focused grapefruit, citrus oil and mineral infused body of this elegant and dry wine. The stony finish is chiseled and flinty and reminds me of a great Chablis.
Price: Hidden View Price
VN 94

2010 D'Archambeau, Graves
Review Date: 01-08-2016
This starts out gravely and supple, but with air puts on additional richness and weight. Aromas and flavors of dark cherry, smoke and earth give way to a huge mineral gush on the flavorful finish of this amazing value. Don't be fooled by the price-this needs at least 20 minutes in a decanter to blossom.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2014 Lamouroux Blanc, Graves
Review Date: 01-08-2016
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

2014 Clos Floridene, Graves Blanc
Review Date: 01-08-2016
Subtle oak shadings add dimension and richness to this substantial and flavorful wine. This is figgy, round and full-bodied with wonderful mid-palate weight and mineral tension to the intense finish. Here is a serious wine that could match well to chicken or even pork.

2010 Lamouroux, Graves
Review Date: 01-06-2016
Earthy aromas of dark cherry, vanilla and cocoa powder jump from the glass as soon as this is poured. This opens with bright fruit that is dark and ample showcasing the weight of the vintage and the barely noticeable tannin. The long, sweet finish has a rocky complexity that begs for another sip.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

2009 Capbern Gasqueton, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 01-06-2016
Owned by Calon Segur and a superb value, this has striking aromas of potting soil, dark cherries, herbs and dried flowers. The firm and husky middle is filled with warm, dark fruit and a damp clay mineral edge that supports the ripe tannin. This is classic St-Estephe.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

1985 Soutard, St-Émilion
Review Date: 01-06-2016
Here is a wine for those looking for a fully mature bottle that is delicately complex, understated and traditional. This has gentle and silky dried cherries, subtle leather tones, a touch of cedar and hints of sage and spice that are soft and finely detailed. An affordable old school classic.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2014 Reynon Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux
Review Date: 12-31-2015
Our best selling white Bordeaux for the last 12 years is 100% Sauvignon Blanc this vintage which lends a touch more grapefruit pith and nuances of smoke and flint. There is still plenty of crushed citrus and mineral to keep this as zippy and refreshing as ever.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
VN 88 - 90

2009 Tour Saint-Fort, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 12-31-2015
This robust, warm and toasty wine has the structure to age but is delicious for decanting tonight. The ample, rich fruit, exotic notions of spice and damp clay and the sandalwood scented finish lend complexity to this hearty bottle. Is this what happens when St-Estephe meets Napa?
Price: $25.99 Add To Cart

2012 Truquet, St-Émilion
Review Date: 12-31-2015
This lush and structured wine has all the deep and dark fruit you expect from Saint-Emilion but at a weirdly low price. Hints of pulverized limestone and very fine tannin maintain lift and freshness through the satiny and rich middle. The finish is sweet and fine.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2011 Trinchero Napa Valley Meritage
Review Date: 12-31-2015
This is a classic Napa Bordeaux blend offering dark fruit, espresso roast, cedar and herb. This dense, hearty, muscular wine is deeply fruited and solid with tannins racing through the powerful spine. This is a classic to decant with hearty food or cellar for a decade or more.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$29.99
WE 90

2009 Can Mayol Loxarel "Gran Reserva de Familia" Brut Nature Penedes
Review Date: 12-29-2015
This is dry, clean and lacy, with a very pure fruit component of wild raspberry and strawberry. The intensity and fine bead will remind you of a very good Champagne, but the price gives it away. This is an absolute steal for the money.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2013 Hahn Estates Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
Review Date: 12-01-2015
Typical for this appellation, this is a big, brawny and deeply fruited style of Pinot Noir. Flavors of fruit cobbler are tempered by woodsy, smoky elements, balancing acidity and ripe tannins that hold this rich, chewy bottle together. A lot of wine here for 20 bucks.

2014 GRÜNER by Etz Grüner Veltliner Kamptal (1L)
Review Date: 11-29-2015
White pepper, grapefruit, green apple, crunchy lentil and ripe pear all in a 1 liter bottle for 14 bucks! A little whiff of trapped CO2 keeps this perfect party sipper light and lively.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2012 Ronan by Clinet, Bordeaux Supérieur
Review Date: 11-17-2015
Here is a soft, plump easy drinking value filled with ripe plums, cherry syrup and damp earth flavors and aromas. There is a note of bitter spice adding complexity to the gentle, fruity finish. This 100% Merlot is pure, fresh and delicious.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

2012 Beau-Séjour Bécot, St-Emilion
Review Date: 11-17-2015
This is deep and mouth-filling with a glycerin texture to the raspberry and boysenberry flavors. Gobs of plush fruit completely envelop the substantial tannins hidden in the finish. Enjoy this now for the decadent display of fruit and texture or cellar for a decade or more.

2012 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 11-04-2015
There is wonderful balance and freshness to this substantial wine although a few more years in bottle will work wonders. This is deep, dark and masculine with tons of blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, hints of cola and mineral and absolutely no hard edges whatsoever despite the size and depth. The sense of balance and proportion are what sets this apart.

Baron Fuente "Galipettes" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-14-2015
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

2012 La Monacesca "Mirum" Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva
Review Date: 09-17-2015
As fantastic as the regular bottling is, the "Mirum" Verdicchio is a big step up in both weight and texture. This is ripe and fleshy with sweet apricot, cream and spiced peach flavors that are cool and sophisticated. When was the last time that a $27 bottle of wine absolutely wowed you?
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart
JS 94 GR 3

2012 Yangarra Estate Shiraz McLaren Vale
Review Date: 09-17-2015
This is not your typical Aussie fruit bomb but rather a rich, complex and balanced wine showing wonderful finesse. There is a sleekness to go with the dark fruit flavors and plenty of finely integrated tannins on the expressive finish. The dark fruit flavors are ripe but beautifully matched by the proportion, structure and length.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JH 95 RP 90

2012 Seigneurs d'Aiguilhe, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 09-11-2015
Stephan von Neipperg of Canon-La-Gaffeliere, Clos l'Oratoire and La Mondotte also owns Chateau d'Aiguilhe in the Castillon appellation. This is the 2nd wine from that over-achieving property and is a stunning value every vintage. This is supple, rich and elegant showing classy restraint and wonderful pedigree. This is one of the best values in Bordeaux.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2010 Hopes Grove "Silver Lining" Syrah Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 09-11-2015
Here is one of the more complex and inviting Syrah bottlings we have tried lately. Spice, pepper and potpourri zoom from the glass as you swirl. There is a kaleidoscope of red and dark fruit, mixed berries, licorice, mineral and limestone shadings that seem to shift and grow as the wine gets more air. This is delicious, compelling and unique. Bravo!

2004 La Temperance Prestige, Haut Medoc
Review Date: 09-03-2015
This is a Bordeaux drinker dream: A perfectly cellared wine from the owner of the legendary Chateau Pape-Clement that is approaching the magical 10 years of age and sells for a paltry 15 bucks. This is hearty and round with oodles of dark, earthy fruit, no hard edges and soft complexity. This rich, plump bargain is drinking perfectly right now.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2010 Bois-Malot, Bordeaux Supérieur
Review Date: 09-03-2015
This best-seller is dark, smooth and filled with rich, round fruit and a touch of earth. 2010 is a slightly more powerful vintage and this shows in the extra intensity and richness to the mid-palate but does not detract from the freshness on the finish. A super value to buy by the case.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2013 Luna Beberide Mencía Bierzo
Review Date: 09-02-2015
This is a warmer, richer somewhat riper take on the Mencia grape but there is enough freshness and balance to carry the day. This screaming value is a great introduction to the wines of the Bierzo region with pepper and earth accents adding complexity and fine, ripe tannins holding the finish together. Amazing bang for the buck here.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
W&S 91 VN 90

2014 Le Battistelle "Montesei" Soave Classico
Review Date: 08-29-2015
100% Garganega and a 100% delicious value. This Soave Classico has aromas of honey and flowers, a middle of crushed pit fruit and an intense mineral driven finish. All this for $11.00! Amazing.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

2013 La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica
Review Date: 08-29-2015
This is from limestone rich soil at 1500 ft. elevation, which results in some of the best Verdicchio in the world. Honey, spiced apricot, mango and a glycerin texture are energized by mineral/acid tension and a lingering finish of exotic fruit. This manages to both rich and refreshing.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JS 92 VN 91

2010 Tolaini Valdisanti Toscana
Review Date: 08-27-2015
Here is a big, hearty Bordeaux wannabe from Tuscany that thinks it's a Chianti. This is ripe, rich and focused, with smooth, earthy black cherry fruit, a deep, warm personality and a blockbuster finish of deeply embedded tannin, mineral and roasted herb. This chewy, mouth-filling wine could handle the richest lasagna or braised or grilled meat.

2012 Faust Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 08-26-2015
The 2nd wine of Quintessa has all the smooth, velvety fruit and balanced richness Quintessa fans love but at a fraction of the price. This is full-bodied with creamy blackberry fruit, creme de casis, dark chocolate and a touch of earth in a satin textured style that will remind you of the far more expensive Quintessa itself.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart
JS 93 RP 90

2014 Elk Cove Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
Review Date: 08-26-2015
This consistent and tasty white is particularly good in the 2014 vintage and fairly priced to boot. Lively, fresh and floral, this has a juicy melon tinge to go with the touch of spice on the brisk finish. This is the perfect white to break your friends out of their Chardonnay rut.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

2012 Château de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Lirac
Review Date: 08-20-2015
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

2014 Allram Grüner Veltliner Kamptal (1L)
Review Date: 08-20-2015
This is seriously good wine and one of the best values in the store. What is the downside to a $11.00 liter bottle of snappy and crisp Gruner Veltliner that is light and refreshing? There is none which is why this is a staff favorite year after year.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

2014 Domaine Cherrier Père & Fils Sancerre
Review Date: 07-31-2015
Aromas of wet rock, chalk dust, citrus fruit and lemon verbena jump from this as you swirl the glass. The juicy middle of limestone-infused, crushed pit fruit is palate cleansing and inviting where intense, mouthwatering minerality clamps down on the refreshing finish inviting sip after sip. This is super intense and just delicious.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 07-28-2015
The 2014 vintage of this wine is just as stunning as the 2013 was, and if anything, is perhaps a bit more electric and dry. This is saline and juicy, with intense kiwi and gooseberry fruit, floral and herb notes and a fine, thirst-quenching mineral texture. This is clean, focused and penetrating.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
RC 94 DC 93

2009 Nairac, Sauternes
Review Date: 07-28-2015
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.

2010 Raymond Lafon, Sauternes (375ml)
Review Date: 07-28-2015
Surprisingly viscous, fat and waxy but with great balancing acidity to boot, this seems to hit the sweet spot between flamboyant richness and cool, electric freshness. The pineapple, coconut, honey, citrus and marmalade flavors would be an ideal match for veined cheeses, fruit tarts, pound cake, a plate of butter cookies or my favorite, as an aperitif. The powerful finish here actually leaves an impression of dryness on the palate.

2012 Carpe Diem Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 07-28-2015
2012 was a spectacular Pinot Noir vintage all up and down California and Anderson Valley was no exception. This has a wild, brambly side rarely seen in this appellation yet retains all the cool balance and equilibrium you expect from this outstanding Northern region. There is freshness as well as depth to the layers of earthy dark cherry and berry fruit that linger on the gripping finish.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2009 Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 07-15-2015
This is bold, warm and clean with red cherry fruit, notions of leather and puttanesca and hints of strawberry and red licorice. Here is a structured but balanced bottle to enjoy now or cellar further.
Price: Hidden View Price
JS 90 VN 90

2000 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac
Review Date: 07-15-2015
Although this has the depth, structure and balance to age many more years I really can't imagine it getting any better than it is right now. This is fabulously complex with smoky, woodsy blackberry fruit, steeped tea, leather and cigar box aromas and a creamy texture that seems to accent the sweetness of the fruit. The fine and subtle tannins on the graphite laced finish add tremendous length to this delicious wine.

2013 Fossil Point Edna Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-29-2015
Edna Valley is known for richer, fuller Pinot Noir but with great balancing acidity due to the marine influence. In the world of Pinot, $16.00 is a price point where you need to lower your expectations but this focused, deep wine truly over delivers. This is smooth, balanced, very fresh and above all, a great drink.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

2009 La Velona Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 05-26-2015
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.

2014 Domaine de Millet Colombard-Ugni Blanc Cotes de Gascogne Blanc
Review Date: 05-22-2015
This super summer sipper is an amazing value and very versatile for BBQ's, the patio, picnics casual get- togethers and as an all-around thirst-quencher. This delicious and affordable blend of equal parts Colombard and Ugni Blanc is crisp, clean and tangy with a crushed fruit middle of citrus and peach.
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart

2012 Penley Estate "Phoenix" Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra
Review Date: 03-11-2015
Wow. What a super value in a Cabernet that is fresh, understated and well made. Plums, mint, sage and currants combined with great acid/tannin balance make this super food friendly and easy to sip on its own. This is great winemaking that sells for a song.

2012 Robert Craig "Affinity" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 02-19-2015
This is exactly what most people have in mind when they think of a classic big, bold Napa Cabernet from a great vintage. Here is a brawny, rich fruit-driven wine with a solid smack of oak, creamy blackberry fruit, spice and enough structure to hold it all together. This in-your-face bottling belongs in every steakhouse in the country.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 VN 91

2012 Yangarra Estate "Old Vine" Grenache McLaren Vale
Review Date: 02-10-2015
I absolutely love this funky, cool, electric version of Grenache from the McLaren Vale region of Australia. This has tightly wound dark fruit, spice, earth and plenty of food friendly fine tannin bound together in a dark and vibrant package. This is wild Aussie wine for lovers of Old School Southern Rhone reds.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart
JH 94

2009 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 02-10-2015
Vintage after vintage this wine over delivers, but the beauty of the 2009 is you won't have to wait 10 years for it to be at its peak. This is delicious now and shows a real softness to the earthy and sweet cherry fruit flavors. The round, broad and rich middle lets you sink your teeth into the terroir and the ripeness and warmth of the vintage makes for early drinking.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2013 Siduri Sonoma County Pinot Noir
Review Date: 02-03-2015
Like all Siduri Pinots this does not skimp on fruit but there was clearly a deft hand guiding the winemaking, allowing for a sense of equilibrium. The balance between the creamy texture and lush fruit lets the savory and spicy components poke through, leaving an impression of complexity and freshness. In today's market for delicious Pinot Noir this is a bargain.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2013 Calera Central Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 01-29-2015
I love this affordable and fresh bottling for its value and consistency. Always juicy and full of character without resorting to the heavy, cloying tactics that push so many chards over the top. In a market of over priced and over manipulated wines this is a sigh of relief for your wallet and your palate.

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