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.


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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 Waiting List

2012 Larcis Ducasse, St-Emilion
Review Date: 11-17-2015
Great winemaking meets great terroir in this powerful and concentrated beauty. This is deep and lushly fruity with oodles of black currant and dark plum fruit followed by massive limestone minerality on the powerful finish. One of the more impressive 2012s I have tasted.

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.

2009 Can Mayol Loxarel Gran Reserva de Familia Brut Nature Penedes
Review Date: 11-17-2015
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 Waiting List
RP 93

2012 Truquet, St-Émilion
Review Date: 11-15-2015
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 Waiting List

2012 Crater Rim Pinot Noir Banks Peninsula Canterbury
Review Date: 11-14-2015
Here is a fantastic value in a deep and focused Pinot with a year or two of bottle age. This unfined and unfiltered bottle is rich and earthy but impeccably balanced and fresh. A Pinot Noir with this much texture and flavor is almost impossible to find for under $20.
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List

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 Waiting List

2006 Baron Fuente "Grand Millésimé" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-14-2015
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 Waiting List
WS 91

2008 Louise Brison Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-06-2015
This organic bottling from the spectacular 2008 Champagne vintage is very fine and dry with an ethereal, lacy texture and wonderful drive and focus. A vibrant blend of equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this has clean, chiseled fruit flavors and hints of talc on the detailed, mineral infused finish. Crushed fruit hinting at apricot, peach and melon are showcased by the ripeness and great acid balance of the vintage.
Price: $29.99 Add To Waiting List

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 Waiting List
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 Waiting List
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 Waiting List

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 Waiting List

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 Waiting List
W&S 91 AG 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 Waiting List

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 Waiting List
JS 92 AG 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 Waiting List
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 Waiting List
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 Waiting List
RP 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 Waiting List

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 Waiting List

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 Waiting List
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 Waiting List
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: $46.99 Add To Waiting List
AG 90 JS 90

2010 Haut Charmes, Sauternes (375ml)
Review Date: 06-26-2015
This starts with surprisingly complex aromas of Pineapple, tangerine, clover honey and tarragon that seem to build as the wine aerates. The mid-palate is viscous and rich but with great acidity to the spiced apricot fruit, honeysuckle and paraffin notes that show great volume but no excessive weight. The fact that this is made by one of the most well regarded Sauternes houses makes the price/quality ratio even more astonishing.
Price: $13.99 Add To Waiting List

2013 Rickshaw California Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-29-2015
This brash and exuberant value is a best seller, and not just because of the low price. There is surprising complexity here and a transparency that allows you to taste right through the wine without being overwhelmed by too much over-ripeness and extract. This is not a $15.00 Pinot fruit bomb, but rather a lively, energetic bottle from the folks who make the outstanding Banshee wines.
Price: $14.99 Add To Waiting List

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 Waiting List

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 Waiting List

2013 Grey's Peak (Greystone) Pinot Noir Waipara
Review Date: 05-19-2015
This is rich and balanced with layers of sweet, creamy dark fruit all balanced by amazing acidity. There is such great lift and freshness to the fleshy, textured middle that the finish seem to glide on and on. Fantastic quality here.

1999 Fugue de Nenin, Pomerol
Review Date: 04-23-2015
The Delon family of Leoville-Las-Cases fame has made great strides with Chateau Nenin in Pomerol and this second wine has become a consistant over achiever. This is elegant, clean, classy and sweet, offering an iron tinged mineral edge to the fine finish. Drinking perfectly right now, this offers the sophistication of the first wine at a fraction of the cost.
Price: Hidden View Price

2011 Valli "Gibbston Vineyard" Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 04-01-2015
Of the four Valli Pinots I tasted i think I prefer the 2011 to any of the 2012's most likely due simply to the extra year of age. All four of these fantastic Pinot Noir bottlings are simply delicious and will only improve with time although the Gibston vineyard seemed the most complete and ready to drink at this stage. This is bright and floral with plenty of rich red fruit flavors and a wonderful acid tension that keeps this substantial wine fresh and balanced. Just a lovely bottle.

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 Waiting List
RP 92 AG 91

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 Waiting List

2004 Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 02-05-2015
Many wines from the under appreciated 2004 Bordeaux vintage are finally starting to strut their stuff and this is a prime example. This is restrained and balanced with a lingering sweetness to the crisp finish. The middle is filled with smoky cherry and plum fruit, notes of tobacco and hints of earth that are lively, fresh and textured. Enjoy this tonight or age further.
Price: $29.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 90

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 Waiting List

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.

Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-06-2014
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.
Price: $34.99 Add To Waiting List

2009 Ferrero Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 07-15-2014
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.
Price: $29.99 Add To Waiting List

Can Mayol Loxarel "999" Brut Nature Rosat Penedes
Review Date: 07-05-2014
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.
Price: $12.99 Add To Waiting List
W&S 91

2010 Fombrauge, St-Emilion
Review Date: 02-21-2014
The person responsible for the great wines from Chateau Pape-Clement also brings you this over-achieving St-Emilion bargain. There are plenty of toasty espresso roast aromas and flavors to go with the copious dark fruit buried in the velvety body of this serious wine. The tannins are almost buried under fruit and the dark and brooding nature is lifted by a wonderful sense or elegance and balance.

Deligeroy Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé
Review Date: 09-04-2012
This is long and fine with red cherry fruit and a persistant limestone laced finish. There is an amazing amount of elegance and restraint showing here for only 13 bucks.
Price: $12.99 Add To Waiting List

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 07-07-2011
When it comes to Champagne this is probably our all time staff favorite. The fact that it is a direct import and sells for less than half what it would if it went through the same distribution system as the big name brands doesn't hurt either. Fresh and ripe Chardonnay flavors, intense mineral notes and hints of earth leap from this vibrant and full-textured bubbly.
Price: $34.99 Add To Waiting List
WE 91

Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-29-2009
Chardonnay from Brouillet makes a richer, creamier style of Blanc de Blanc than other areas of Champagne. This is an easy to like style that is perfect for less formal occasions like New Year's eve toasts and quiet sipping during parties. This generous, rich bubbly is an amazing deal to direct buy pricing.
Price: $34.99 Add To Waiting List

2001 Larrivet Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 06-18-2008
If you are a fan of the Graves region in the ’01 vintage, as I am, this wine will blow you away. This is lively and very fresh with complex aromas and flavors of dark currant, herb, smoke and spice. The fruit is bright and sweet and the wonderful acid balance makes the wine seem to go on and on. This is delicious, traditionally made and food friendly.
Price: $49.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 90

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