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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2014 de France Rouge, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 01-18-2017
Here is a great introduction to the very good wines of the 2014 vintage from the folks at Malartic-Lagraviere. This is rich and flashy with black cherry and ripe plum fruit and dark cocoa accents throughout. The finish is quite complex with earth, gravel and fine grip. Decant now or lay away for several years.

2010 Chateau L'Argenteyre, Medoc
Review Date: 01-18-2017
This is dark and earthy with flavors and aromas of blackberry, spice and cherry. The middle is firm and toasty with traces of iron showing on the long, sweet finish. Another bargain from one of the greatest Bordeaux vintages of all time.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2014 Haut-Vigneau, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 01-18-2017
An overachieving property of Carbonnieux fame that scores big in the price/quality ratio year after year. This gravely wine has hints of spice, mineral and 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: 01-18-2017
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

2015 Loyasson, Bordeaux
Review Date: 01-05-2017
Aromas of truffle and crushed flowers lead to a middle of sweet and jammy black raspberries. This is smooth and effortless with wonderful freshness throughout and a clean, fine finish. This early release from a spectacular vintage is one to buy by the case.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2007 d'Escurac, Medoc
Review Date: 01-04-2017
A ten year old wine for under 15 bucks is always a rare find but this would be a bargain at twice the price. This is dark, plush and sensual with good volume to the dusty cherry fruit, scents of cedar and hints of leather that fill the mid-palate. Faintly drying tannins carry the day and add much needed grip to the persistent finish. Here is a middle aged bargain in traditional Bordeaux.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 Olema Sonoma County Chardonnay
Review Date: 01-04-2017
This is juicy and round with a fresh and mouth filling palate of peach, nectarine and lemon oil all in a rich but vibrant package. A touch of well integrated oak adds some toasty notes to the finish of crushed fruit. Another appealing and affordable bottle from our friends at Olema that is food friendly and easy to drink.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JS 91

2014 Baracchi "O'Lillo!" Toscana
Review Date: 12-28-2016
Here is a smooth and effortless blend displaying wild berry and dark cherry fruit along with faint hints of milk chocolate and a subtle pulverized minerality to the finish. This is well proportioned and integrated with each component of the blend adding to but not overpowering the whole. Overall a delicious drink.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JS 93 WS 90

2014 Moulin de la Gardette "Tradition" Gigondas
Review Date: 12-28-2016
Aromas of red licorice, white pepper, wildflowers, lavender, thyme and savory herb leap from the glass as soon as this is poured. This is fine, elegant and beautifully transparent with wild berries, cherries and freshly picked raspberries all displayed across the lingering finish. Here is a lacy, sophisticated bargain.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
VN 90 - 92

2014 Pike Road Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 12-22-2016
Fans of the great wines of Elk Cove will love this bargain priced bottle they source from estate and purchased fruit. This has the balance, complexity and finesse you expect from this overachieving property but at less than half the price of their single vineyard offerings. Serious bang for the buck here.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

2014 Seigneurs d'Aiguilhe, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 12-15-2016
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.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

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

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 Rauzan-Ségla, Margaux
Review Date: 11-15-2016
This has oodles of blackberry fruit, vanilla, oak and milk chocolate flavors and aromas that are rich, smooth and layered. The depth of fruit hides the structure underneath but this is balanced enough for current consumption for those unable to defer gratification. A success for the vintage.

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: $12.99 Add To Cart
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

2010 Rauzan-Ségla, Margaux
Review Date: 11-11-2016
Here is a profound wine with earthy aromas of crushed flowers, dark fruit and a minty note that is huge but effortless and balanced. The open knight fruit profile, classy lines and fine grip on the finish almost hide the 20 plus years of ageing potential lurking underneath. A fantastic effort that is well worth the money.

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

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.

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

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: Hidden View Price

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.

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

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 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: $46.99 Add To Cart
BH 92 RP 91

2014 Domaine Marc Colin St. Aubin 1er Cru "Les Charmois"
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: $49.99 Add To Cart
BH 91 RP 90

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

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

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

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 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

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