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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2010 Misha's Vineyard "High Note" Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 09-30-2016
Despite the bottle age this is actually the current release of this wine and the extra time has done wonders to round it out. This is firm and focused with aromas of wild herbs and what the french would call garrigue along with loads of sweet and dark fruit. The rich and gentle finish of thyme, rosemary and plum shows great complexity.

2001 Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande, Haut Medoc
Review Date: 09-30-2016
This extremely earthy wine has oodles of sweet black fruit, wonderful freshness and a balanced, lively personality. Just beginning to show some leather and cedar notes from middle age, this digs into the somewhat barnyard aspect of old school Bordeaux without seeming too rustic. This is drinking wonderfully right now.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Cognizant Pinot Noir Marlborough (Te Whare Ra)
Review Date: 09-30-2016
Basically declassified TWR (Te Whare Ra) showing bright black cherry and dark plum fruit, anise, pepper and other spices and a full, layered mouth-feel. This is an amazing deal in a Pinot of depth, complexity and weight.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2013 Shaw + Smith Shiraz Adelaide Hills
Review Date: 09-30-2016
This is packed, elegant and supple with an array of red fruits and spices lending great complexity. The style here is reserved, focused and clean with fantastic integration and a long finish of wet slate minerality and beautiful proportion.

2012 Domaine de Fontbonau Côtes-du-Rhône
Review Date: 09-30-2016
Although technically not a single village wine this has the elegance and finesse one usually associates with a wine from Gigondas. Both red and black fruit, spice, dusty earth and gentle tannins form the body and structure of this delicious and polished bottle which drinks well above its humble appellation.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$24.99

2013 Plantagenet Chardonnay Mount Barker Western Australia
Review Date: 09-29-2016
Here is a rich, nutty bargain showing the kind of concentration you would expect from a Burgundy costing 3 times as much. This is packed with snappy spiced apple and citrus fruit and a lip smackingly fresh finish that will have you reaching for another glass.

2012 Les Griffons de Pichon-Baron, Pauillac
Review Date: 09-27-2016
This is another 2nd wine from Pichon Baron and while is shows all the deep, dark fruit and pencil lead mineral notes of the Les Tourelles it has a much more plush and creamy texture somewhat obscuring the structure underneath. The much higher percentage of Merlot is evident in its bittersweet chocolate flavors and flattering personality.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
VN 92 WE 91

2015 Pencarrow Sauvignon Blanc (Palliser) Martinborough
Review Date: 09-27-2016
Here is a killer value in a full-bodied and rich yet bone dry wine with plenty of complexity. This is floral, earthy and musky with crushed melon fruit and hints of nectarine on the long, dry finish. An unbelievable price for this level of quality.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

2014 Pencarrow Pinot Noir (Palliser) Martinborough
Review Date: 09-27-2016
Bright red cherry fruit, spice, savory herb and dark plum are all found in this super bargain. This is surprisingly firm and structured for the price with a sweet and dark middle tempered by spicy complexity.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2012 Marsac Séguineau, Margaux
Review Date: 09-23-2016
If you thought it was impossible to find Margaux for less than 20 bucks then you owe it to yourself to try this little gem. This is elegant and clean but with tons of rich fruit and an inviting, supple texture that drinks well above it's humble price point. Flowery aromas and crunchy black currant fruit are the hallmarks of this delicious bargain.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 90 WE 90

2015 Domaine des Remizières Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 09-23-2016
Here is a screaming deal for fans of the Northern Rhone and Syrah lovers in general. This starts out with lifted aromas of white pepper, violets and the faintest hint of game before a burst of crunchy blue and black fruits coat the palate. There is no heaviness or rusticity in this fresh and sweet wine, just a long, cool finish ending with a mineral lift.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2013 Domaine des Remizières "Cuvée Christophe" Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 09-23-2016
Here we have a serious bottle of Syrah that drinks well above its not-so-serious price. This is a deep and chewy wine showing a dig into the earthy, animal aspect of the Northern Rhone underneath a coat of rich, ripe fruit. Hints of pepper and raw meat, wild blackberry and huckleberry fruit and a finish of iron and cold steel will allow this substantial wine to pair well with the heartiest of fare. Grilled meats and BBQ come to mind. This can be enjoyed tonight but one has to wonder where it will be in 5 years.
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2015 Domaine des Remizières "Cuvée Christophe" Crozes-Hermitage Blanc
Review Date: 09-23-2016
A great introduction to the whites of the Northern Rhone and a super value. This is fat, layered and waxy, but with vibrant acidity to showcase the abundance of ripe stone fruit. White peach, dried apricot and hints of nectarine lead to a mouthwatering, mineral-laced finish that shows just the faintest whiff of ginger.
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart

2012 Les Tourelles de Longueville, Pauillac
Review Date: 09-22-2016
Loads of creamy blackberry and cassis fruit, pronounced graphite minerality, toasty oak and a very Pichon Baron-like personality make this an amazing and approachable value. This seems to be one of the best 2nd wines of the vintage and really should be considered a stand alone success for its combination of depth, complexity , balance and classic Pauillac character.

2015 Domaine Renaud Pouilly-Fuissé "Cuvée Vieilles Vignes"
Review Date: 09-22-2016
Easily the best version of this wine in the last 10 years and a great value. This is more forward than past vintages yet also shows greater depth with plenty of crushed citrus and spiced apple fruit and a stony finish. The overt ripeness here is held in check by persistent mineral drive and wonderful vibrancy.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

2010 Franc Mayne, St-Emilion
Review Date: 09-14-2016
This super value from a spectacular vintage has a fat middle of creamy boysenberry fruit, dark chocolate, spice and a glycerin-like texture right through to the toasty vanilla-tinged finish. There is plenty of structure underneath the masses of fruit and oak flavors, yet this is quite easy to drink.

2009 Chauvin, St-Emilion
Review Date: 09-14-2016
Almost exotic levels of warm, plush chocolate cherry and cassis-laden fruit coat the tongue when tasting this velvety beauty. Underneath all that fruit lies plenty of structure, resulting in talc-like mineral scents and limestone aromas on the long finish of sweet and grippy tannins.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
JS 92 RP 91

2009 Cos Labory, St Estephe
Review Date: 09-08-2016
This Fifth Growth estate seems to be resurrecting itself with this fantastic bottle that was a customer favorite at a tasting earlier this year. The substantial and chewy middle of blackberry fruit is lifted by scents of loamy earth, oak and savory tobacco. Despite all that weight and texture the finish here is fresh, clean and not at all heavy.

2009 Ormes De Pez, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 09-08-2016
There is an upfront gush of rich and toasty blackberry fruit that deftly counterbalances the powerful finish on this big, bold wine. Although this has the telltale baked in ripeness of the vintage there is classic St-Estephe dryness on this firm, structured success.

2009 Larrivaux, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 09-08-2016
Earth dark cherry and plum fruit along with scents of fertile soil are the first thing you encounter in this hearty and balanced wine. This is generous in the middle and finishes with very ripe tannins on the sweet finish. A wine that truly over delivers.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2010 Lynch-Bages, Pauillac
Review Date: 09-08-2016
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.

1989 Dauzac, Margaux
Review Date: 09-07-2016
This little known 5th Growth Margaux was a hit at my recent tasting in San Francisco and deserves some respect for being such a great value. The quality of the '89 vintage shines through here and a quarter century of age lands this at perfect maturity. This is elegant, soft and floral with hints of truffle, balsom, cedar, dried flowers and brown sugar drifting through the silky, sweet fruit.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine la Colombe Coteaux Varois en Provence Rosé
Review Date: 08-31-2016
Here is a best-seller and no-brainer that over-delivers every vintage, but really notched things up a bit in the exceptional 2015 vintage. This is juicy, fruity, spicy, amazingly fresh and super palate-cleansing.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2012 Trébiac, Graves
Review Date: 08-31-2016
This gravely, earthy wine is one of the best Bordeaux values we carry year after year. Always elegant and fresh yet possessing plenty of fruit and lively structure this has a bang to buck ratio that is off the charts.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2012 Gundlach Bundschu "Mountain Cuvée" Sonoma County Red Blend
Review Date: 08-31-2016
This bordeaux blend from Sonoma hits all the right spots at an easy to digest price. This is smooth, plush and dark with just a touch of spice. With no hard edges and plenty of ripe fruit this is easy drinking and a great match for anything grilled.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

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: Hidden View Price

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

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

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

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

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

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

2010 Plaisance "Cuvée Alix", Bordeaux
Review Date: 06-21-2016
The owner of Château Pape Clément also owns this little jewel of a property known for outstanding bargains vintage after vintage. There is plenty​ of deep and dark fruit along with touches of grilled herb and spice flavors in this hefty and substantial bottle that stays warm, sweet and plush. Amazing bang for the buck here.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

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!

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