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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2013 Domaine Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 12-01-2016
The amazingly complex aromas of this wine are always difficult for me to pin down, but mint, camphor, eucalyptus, wild flowers and savory herb all come to mind—I guess what the French would call garrigue. The rich and smooth middle is full of sweet cherries, dark plums and more savory notes that are layered and deep. I challenge you to find a more complex and interesting Cabernet in this price range.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
VN 92

2011 Sportoletti "Villa Fidelia" Rosso
Review Date: 12-01-2016
This is dense and concentrated with a depth of blackberry fruit, ripe cherry flavors, earthy nuances and hints of smoke. Although mostly Merlot, this dry wine tastes more like Cabernet Sauvignon or a top-notch Bordeaux but with unmistakable Italian character to the long, dusty finish. From the mineral-laced aromas to the fine and embedded tannins this is a classy and sophisticated bottling.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 93 RP 92

2014 Seigneurs d'Aiguilhe, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 11-19-2016
This is the 2nd wine of the star of the appellation Chateau d'Aiguilhe. Proprietor Stephan Neipperg is also responsible for the great wines of Canon-la-Gaffeliere, Clor l'Oratoire and the super luxury "Garage wine" La Mondotte. Drinkable now, this elegant Merlot based blend is supple, rich, inviting and one of the best values in Bordeaux.

2015 Domaine Renaud Pouilly-Fuissé "Cuvée Vieilles Vignes"
Review Date: 11-18-2016
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

2009 Chauvin, St-Emilion
Review Date: 11-18-2016
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

2013 Château de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Lirac
Review Date: 11-18-2016
This oak aged Chateauneuf-du-Pape wannabe comes from 50 to 90 year old vines and is loaded with cassis, jammy black currents, wild savory herbs, spice and earth in an effortless and long package. The mid-palate is sweet and concentrated leading to a complex finish loaded with mineral and ripe tannin. This has been a staff go-to for as long as I can remember.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2014 Kaiken "Ultra" Cabernet Sauvignon Sauvignon Mendoza
Review Date: 11-18-2016
This lushly textured wine with its intense structure is a big step above what you would expect at this modest price point. A solid core of dark cocoa, cassis, sweet cherry and spice give way to a powerful finish of very fine and grippy tannins. Here the New World ripeness is tempered by the sheer scale of the wine.

2010 Franc Mayne, St-Emilion
Review Date: 11-15-2016
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.

2012 Peyrabon, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 11-15-2016
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: $15.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$13.99
WE 92

2014 Domaine de la Réserve d'O "La Réserve d'O" Terrasses du Larzac
Review Date: 11-12-2016
Here is a killer value in a deeply fruited and complex wine that despite its heft and structure is balanced enough to drink tonight. The layers of ripe blackberry, huckleberry and black cherry are livened by hints of licorice, anise, pepper and wild flowers. There is a wonderful tension between the depth of the fruit and the intense chalky finish. This is compelling juice for a mere 20 bucks.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2014 Chateau de Javernand Chiroubles Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 11-12-2016
This is classically styled Beaujolais from a classic vintage but with the old vines adding a little extra heft to the middle. The mid-palate is deeply fruited with mineral and spice showing up on the dark finish All dark fruit here but with wonderful lift.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
VN 92

2015 Les Freres Perroud "Vieilles Vignes" Brouilly
Review Date: 11-12-2016
Baked cherry fruit, crushed flowers, granite minerality and a trace of iron form the personality of this bottle from a great vintage for Beaujolais. This "Old Vines" bottling is somewhat beefy and chewy, which enhances its hearty nature.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
VN 90

2012 de Pitray, Castillon
Review Date: 11-11-2016
Here is a super value with scents of loamy soil and filled with rich and ripe red and dark fruits. This has a soft, plush texture to the middle and a gentle finish of mineral and fine tannin. Delicious now and priced to buy by the case.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

2014 Haut-Vigneau, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 11-04-2016
An overachieving property of Carbonnieux fame that scores big in the price/quality ratio year after year. This gravely wine has hints of milk chocolate to go along with the crunchy dark currant fruit and sweet, rocky finish. Fairly deep and rich for the appellation but satisfying and super food-friendly.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2012 Domaine du Grand Ormeau, Lalande-de-Pomerol
Review Date: 11-04-2016
This is opulent and modern with new oak, jammy raspberries, smoky dark plums and a middle that is rich, creamy and layered. There is impressive concentration and sweetness to this ripe, mouth-filling wine.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 90 RP 90

2014 Les Freres Perroud Bourgogne Pinot Noir (organic)
Review Date: 11-04-2016
Here is a staunchly "Old School" bottle for those who think that many Burgundy producers have become a bit too squeaky clean, and dare I say, boring. This is earthy, rustic and even a bit barn yardy yet filled with character, oodles of rich fruit and a hearty and satisfying nature. This amazing bargain would be perfect with Coq au Vin but might even stand up to cassoulet.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2015 Château de Montfaucon "Comtesse Madeleine" Lirac Blanc
Review Date: 11-04-2016
Here is an affordable version of a Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc filled with fresh peach, lanolin, lilac and sweet and juicy stone fruits. This is dry, concentrated and finishes with an intense talc-like minerality.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2014 Château de Montfaucon Clairette "Vin de Mme la Comtesse" Côtes du Rhône Vieilles Vignes Blanc
Review Date: 11-04-2016
This opens with compelling aromas of apple blossoms, freshly sliced peaches and subtle spice. The mid-palate shows depth and elegance with layers of sweet orchard fruit and a fine, lingering finish. Quite aristocratic.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

2015 Laubarit Rouge, Bordeaux
Review Date: 10-28-2016
There is wonderful sweetness to the raspberry and baked cherry fruit flavors on this low-priced, delicious and organic wine. This is lively, clean, bone dry and has great mineral lift throughout the mid-palate. The subtle pulverized tannins on the fine finish add length and a food-friendly snap.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

2014 Château de Montfaucon Lirac
Review Date: 10-27-2016
This is deeper and bolder than the regular Montfaucon bottling and shows more cracked pepper, earth and dark fruit in a chewier, heartier style. Amazing value here.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2015 Cognizant Pinot Noir Marlborough (Te Whare Ra)
Review Date: 10-12-2016
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

2015 Treves Petite Arvine Val d'Aosta
Review Date: 10-12-2016
This is compelling and unique with flavors and aromas of ocean spray, spice, citrus and apple blossom. The rich and textured middle is lifted by fresh acidity and there is a palate cleansing salty tang on the finish. This is delicious and not like anything else in the store.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart
JS 93

2010 Misha's Vineyard "High Note" Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 10-06-2016
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.

2015 Domaine des Remizières Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 10-06-2016
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: 10-06-2016
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: 10-06-2016
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

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.

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.

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

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.

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: Hidden View Price

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.

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 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

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

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

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