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Staff Favorites - 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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2011 Evening Land "Spanish Springs" Edna Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 1-14-2014
This is a full, rich Pinot that is not shy on flavor but stays light on its feet and clocks in at a very modest alcohol level. Black cherry and raspberry fruit mingle with subtle vanilla shadings, spice, a hint of wood smoke and sarsaparilla. Flowery aromas and a bold, creamy texture lead to a finish of rounded, firm tannins in this enjoyable and affordable bottle.
2011 Soter "North Valley" Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-13-2013
This is firm, dark and deep with a dusty edge to the tannic finish. Despite the initial brooding nature a fresh cranberry edge lends an overall sense of balance and equilibrium that keeps you reaching for another taste. This interesting and well made Pinot should stand up to fairly hearty fare.
1997 Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 3-8-2013
This starts with soft, dusty, earthy tones that continue to open up as the wine gets more air. The color is quite deep and reveals a middle of lively and sweet ranier cherry fruit and a finish showing pronounced minerality. The overall inmpression is of gentle yet still fresh elegance.
2010 Haut-La Péreyre, Bordeaux Supérieur
Review Date: 2-9-2013
Here is a new producer for us and a great value from the fantastic 2010 Bordeaux vintage. This is sleek and creamy with wonderful depth of fruit and no hard edges. Black cherry, dark plum, earth and a touch of mineral broaden the middle and score the finish of this high quality easy drinker.
2000 Terrey-Gros-Cailloux, St-Julien
Review Date: 10-9-2012
Bright aromas of blackberry, rhubarb and clay zoom from this substantial bargain. The fleshy middle holds ripe blackberry, incense and mineral complexity in a somewhat chewey texture with surprisingly little rusticity. This is hearty and deep with an intriguing touch of chalk on the long finish.
Deligeroy Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé
Review Date: 9-4-2012
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.
2009 Le Bonnat, Graves
Review Date: 8-30-2012
This starts out clean and supple but with an hour in a decanter turns sweet, plump and generous. There are ripe red and dark frut aromas and delicous flavors of blackberry, licorice, earth, mineral and spice. This is complex and drinks above its price point.
2009 Le Prieuré, St-Emilion
Review Date: 7-9-2012
This is grapey, voluptuous and ripe, but with enough finish and structure to hold things together. Opulent and concentrated, but with no hard edges whatsoever, this has the framework to stand up to the flamboyant fruit. Delicious already.
Franck Bonville Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 7-7-2011
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.
1998 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 7-7-2011
This is a deal in classic, aged Bordeaux for anyone with a "old world" palate. Firm and completely dry with flavors of dark cherry, oak and spice, this is just beginning to show mature hints of cedar and leather. This cabernet based wine still shows the structure of the vintage so decanting is recommended.
2003 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 7-21-2010
This affordable gem is from the warm and approachable 2003 Bordeaux and is already delicious. Sweet, lively and round with no hard edges, this is great with hearty foods or more sophisticated fare. From the much hyped "California" vintage in Bordeaux.
2003 Verdignan Rouge, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 2-10-2010
This is a great bargain from the much hyped and super fruity 2003 Bordeaux vintage. Rich and chewy, this full-bodied wine has ripe blackberry fruit, sweet toasty oak, touches of spice and earth and great structure. Drink this fruity super value now and over the next decade.
Drink from 2009 to 2019
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.
2005 Marquis de Calon, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 8-6-2009
The 3rd Growth Calon Segur made one of my favorite St-Estephes in '05 and the second wine shows similar quality at a fraction of the price. This is clean and sweet with very bright fruit and mineral all in a long, firm package. Lots of breed shows here and there is a touch earth to complimentr the elegant structure and fine finish. This has just as much finesse as Calon Segur but without all the powerful tannins, and has the ability to elevate a good meal to greatness.
2005 Guiraud, Sauternes
Review Date: 3-11-2009
The #4 wine on Spectator’s Top 100 with good reason. This is rich and complex, showing tropical fruit, spice, honey, citrus oils and more. Creamy, smooth and sweet, but not at all heavy, this maintains a sense of balance and freshness despite huge flavors.
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