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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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2015 Cantelys Rouge, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 02-07-2019
The folks at Smith Haut Lafitte have made a rather husky wine from their vineyards next door in this vintage. This is quite toasty with an abundance of both red and black fruits and a real dig into the earthy Pessac Terroir. A bold bargain that will age well.

2014 Esprit de Chevalier Blanc, Pessac-Leognan
Review Date: 02-07-2019
This fools you with honeyed aromas before the clean finish of saline minerality takes over. Both food friendly and quaffable, this has light peach overtones and a bracing and mouthwatering personality.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

Dérot-Delugny "Cuvée Fondateurs" Brut
Review Date: 02-07-2019
Lovers of Pinot Gris will like this for the bright pit fruit and crushed melon flavors but the body is pure Champagne through and through. This is bold, aristocratic and classically dry with a long austere finish of mineral and talc. A touch exotic but filled with power and grace.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Dérot-Delugny "Coiffe Blanche" Brut
Review Date: 02-07-2019
This Blanc de Noirs is round, fleshy, figgy and dry to the taste. The 100% Meunier results in a classically structured wine with a plump middle and a long, clean palate cleansing finish. This is both fruity and refreshing.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2015 Château du Hureau "Tuffe" Saumur-Champigny
Review Date: 02-07-2019
This has aromas of violets, soil and smoke along with rich flavors of herb tinged black raspberries in the chewy middle. The wine is bold and wonderfully balanced with ripe tannins holding the finish.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
JG 92

1996 Lynch-Moussas, Pauillac
Review Date: 02-06-2019
Quite fruity for the vintage but with the telltale cedar and leather beginning to poke through the ripe tannins on the lingering finish. There is a nice sense of proportion to the cherry and cassis loaded middle of smoky fruit that ends very gently with subtle herb and wet mineral. This is easing very gracefully into middle age.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2012 Larrivet Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 02-06-2019
This small, over achieving Chateau produced a typically crunchy wine filled with smoky black currant fruit and unsweetened cocoa flavors. This medium-bodied wine is filled with fresh, savory dark fruit in the stony middle and a complex gravely finish. Another great bargain from this property.

2016 Haut-Vigneau, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 01-24-2019
This wine gushes raspberry, cherry and cocoa flavors and aromas. The body is lifted, lively and balanced between fruit and structure. The mineral filled finish shows plenty of fine, ripe tannin that match beautifully to the refreshing acidity.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 92 - 93

2017 Eric Cottat Sancerre Rouge
Review Date: 01-17-2019
This might be our darkest and most muscular Sancerre Rouge but stays fresh and palate cleansing just the same. Dried flowers, tobacco, raspberry and earth mingle right through to the finish that has some noticeable tannic grip that begs for hearty food.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine des Carlines Chardonnay/Savagnin "La Vouivre" Côtes du Jura Blanc
Review Date: 01-17-2019
This smells just a touch leesy before the flavors of sweet pear take over and mingle with a sparkling minerality. A whisper of clarified butter shows up on the cleansing finish of this interesting and tasty wine.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2017 Aurore Dezat Sancerre Rouge
Review Date: 01-17-2019
This is brisk and racy with sweet flavors of black cherry and raspberry fruit. The clean finish has just a whisper of fresh tobacco. Delicious and almost gulpable.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine Petroni Corse Rouge (Corsica)
Review Date: 01-16-2019
This amazing value shows aromas of earth,garrigue and dried flowers that accents the plump,dark fruit in the spicy middle. The wine is lively, complex, food friendly and super easy to drink.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
JD 94

2017 Wildflower Sauvignon Blanc Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 01-16-2019
What I love about New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is that you can occasionally find ones in the $10.00 range that are just as delicious and drinkable as the much more expensive bottles. I always have a bottle like this chilling in the refridge for when a no-brainer white is needed. This is zippy and refreshing with flavors and aromas of kumquat, mandarin, lime and juicy citrus with a tropical note to the mouth watering finish.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

2015 Branaire-Ducru, St-Julien
Review Date: 01-05-2019
This property next to Chateau Beycheville produced a smooth, rich and somewhat sexy wine with plenty of underlying structure and tension. For now lush black raspberries and sweet cherries take center stage along with flowery aromas, but there are touches of smoke, spice and earth poking through the creamy middle.

2015 Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac
Review Date: 01-05-2019
This 5th Growth is not only fantastic this vintage but well priced for the quality as well. Aromas of well integrated toasted oak and crushed flowers along with oodles of creamy black currant fruit almost obscure the dark iron core hiding underneath. Although structured to age well, the gentle warmth of the vintage has rendered this almost opulent for a Pauillac. This will be hard to give the cellar time it deserves.

2015 Langoa-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 01-05-2019
Big and balanced with bright cherry fruit in the deep middle and touches of oak, sweet berries and cola on the firm finish. Impressive now for its depth and sweetness but will age well as all that fruit is currently cloaking substantial structure.

2015 Chauvin, St-Emilion
Review Date: 01-05-2019
This big fruity wine is very aromatically expressive with dark fruits, roasted herb, mint, exotic spices and espresso. Flavors of ripe plum and sweet baked cherries bury the tannins on the intense finish and lend a long, smooth expression. Despite the huge fruit profile and lurking structure this is a wine of balance to decant tonight or cellar for a decade.

2015 Fombrauge, St-Emilion
Review Date: 01-05-2019
The 2015 shows a bit more elegance and restraint than past vintages but there is still plenty of stuffing here. Aromas and flavors of roasted coffee, an array of bright red fruits, charred wood and Asian spice co-mingle when this is sniffed and tasted. This medium bodied wine is rich, supple and impressive already but 2 to 3 years will greatly enhance the complex flavors.

2015 Ormes de Pez, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 01-05-2019
Firm and tannic but with layers of rich fruit from the chewy mid-palate right through to the mineral coated finish. There are whispers of spice, clay and smoke in this fruity yet dry wine which has plenty of hearty appeal. Decant and enjoy with substantial fare.

2015 Les Tourelles de Longueville, Pauillac
Review Date: 01-05-2019
The folks at Pichon Baron have made this Merlot dominated blend a little more user friendly in 2015 but the Medoc origins are evident in the intense blackberry fruit flavors and aromas. In addition there are hints of flowers, iron and even a sprig of spearmint in the fine, clean middle. This is a tensile wine that is loaded with pedigree and character. Decant one hour.

2015 du Glana, St-Julien
Review Date: 01-05-2019
Always one of the great values in St-Julien and a wine that tastes like the appellation from which it hails. This starts with alluring aromas of black raspberries, potpourri, damp earth and BBQ smoke. The middle of the wine is deep and smooth with plenty of chewy black fruits and a finish of firm, polished tannin. Delicious tonight with anything from burgers to fancy fare.

2015 Potensac, Médoc
Review Date: 01-05-2019
Here is a delicious value that is already drinking well. This starts with ripe black cherry fruit flavors and aromas of fertile soil, herbal mint and tobacco from the 17% Cabernet Franc. The smooth and polished mid-palate glides into a crisp finish. Classified Growth quality at a super affordable price.

2015 Moulin du Cadet, St-Èmilion
Review Date: 01-05-2019
This is a sweet and delicious wine filled with toasty aromas, chocolate cherry cordial flavors and hints of coffee and red licorice. The middle gushes with ripe and bright red fruits and melds into a rich, heady glycerin textured finish. This really shows the quality of the vintage at the more modest price points.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart
JS 91 RP 90

2006 Ormes de Pez, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 01-04-2019
This is big and firm with a hard candy punch of ripe cherry fruit and a middle that is deep and dry. The bold structure and hearty core of chewy fruit, mineral tinged tannins and whispers of damp clay make this a perfect match to a grilled steak or burger. Decanting suggested.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

2015 Lynch-Bages, Pauillac
Review Date: 01-03-2019
If there could ever be such a thing as an approachable young Lynch Bages this would be it. This is full of blackberry fruit and graphite aromas along with a savory touch and a long mineral laced finish. Although big and powerful there is an overlay of plush, elegant and sweet fruit that already lends a generous note. Needless to say this will age gracefully.

Miquel Pons Cava Brut Penedes
Review Date: 12-29-2018
Here is a sophisticated and elegant sparkler that sells for less than $10.00. This is dry and bracing with a middle filled with stone fruit and melon flavors and a long finish of talc and mineral. This is fine enough for fancy dinners but priced for parties.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

1990 Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 12-29-2018
The only way to get this taste experience is through a perfectly stored, mature bottle from a great vintage and a fantastic producer-there is simply no other way to replicate it. This wine hits all those parameters and more. This is long, gentle, elegant and wonderfully dry with hints of ceder and leather to go with the burnished dark fruit flavors and smoke tinged mineral on the fine finish. A sophisticated wine for discerning connoisseurs.

2015 Domaine Les Pins Bourgueil Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 12-29-2018
This is delicious and approachable with plenty of raspberry fruit, savory herb and flecks of green tobacco right through to the fine finish. There is a touch of chew to the dark and fruity middle and a faint dusting of limestone and a whisper of saline at the very end.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

2016 Seventy Five Wine Company California Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 12-29-2018
This ORGANIC wine is filled with dark fruit flavors and firm, balanced structure. A touch of spice rounds out this deep but approachable beauty. Already delicious.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 d'Arce, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 12-11-2018
This is only the third vintage of this wine and since we have carried all three I can safely say it has quickly become one of the most elegant wines of the Cotes de Castillon appellation, an area known more for richness than finesse. Although this has a slightly darker profile than other vintages it is still primarily red fruited with hints of spice and toast. This shows amazing poise and pedigree for an under $20 bottle and is delicious to drink right now.

2012 Miguel Merino Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 11-29-2018
At six years of age this is already starting to show touches of leather, ceder and steeped tea poking through the macerated plum and dried black cherry fruit. The mid-palate is soft and silky and the tannins on the long, gentle finish are barely noticeable. An amazing wine for under $30.00.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine de la Réserve d'O "La Réserve d'O" Terrasses du Larzac
Review Date: 11-28-2018
This opens with rocky aromas and a medley of ripe red fruits then finishes with sweet black cherry and ripe, fine tannins. The wine is packed, intense and quite light on its feet given the considerable raw material provided by the great vineyard site and organic practices. A wine of this quality for under 20 buck is pretty amazing.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2009 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 11-10-2018
This wine is big, bold and immediate with with dried cherries, dark plums, leather and oak shadings jumping out of the glass. The sweet and intense flavors are held together with fine, deeply embedded tannins that lend elegance and proportion. At nine years since the harvest this is just beginning to become burnished and already provides delicious drinking. Decanting recommended.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JS 96 RP 93

2005 Dassault, St-Emilion
Review Date: 09-06-2018
Here is a classic 2005 with huge aromas and flavors of fruit confit, black raspberries ripe cherries and bitter chocolate. This is a solid but rich wine with a thick middle of dense fruit finishing with smoke, ash and limestone complexity. Decant this delicious blockbuster tonight or cellar for 10 more years.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart
WS 92 RP 91

2017 Love & Squalor Willamette Valley Rosé of Gewürtztraminer
Review Date: 09-05-2018
Here is a super refreshing wine that has plenty of geek appeal but is also delicious in its own right. Aromas and flavors of rose, tea and slightly bitter pith definitely say Gewurztraminer but this wine dances with acidity and stays fresh and thirst-quenching right through the lip-smacking finish. This would match to any kind of salad or cold soup and would be perfect on a picnic.
Price: Hidden View Price

2013 Tenuta Roveglia Merlot
Review Date: 08-24-2018
I have always loved Merlot from Italy as they are almost never as big and blowsy as Domestic Merlot can often be or as structured and huge as Right Bank Bordeaux. This has ample weight and texture but the lines are cleaner and the finish is crisper and more palate cleansing than most Merlot at almost any price. The dark fruit flavors turn a touch savory and along with the hint of mineral on the finish make this a great no-brainer to pair with the lighter fare and outdoor dining I prefer, This is a perfect Picnic red.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$11.99

2016 Planeta Etna Rosso
Review Date: 08-24-2018
This delicious, food friendly wine is a great introduction to the volcanic reds of Mount Etna. This is light in color with a fabulous middle of dried mixed berries and spice. The supple and fruity middle gives way to a dry and elegant finish with fine tannins perfect for washing down a light lunch or a rich dinner.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart
JS 92 WS 90

2013 Y. Rousseau "The Musketeer - Alder Springs Vineyard" Mendocino County Tannat
Review Date: 08-24-2018
This is a great find for any lover of the big, bold reds from South West France. This starts out savory and earthy with deep blackberry and dark plum fruit rolled up with mesquite and cherry liqueur flavors and aromas. Despite the massive size this is easy to drink already and a great match to hearty fare, particularly BBQ.
Price: Hidden View Price
W&S 93

2015 Y. Rousseau "Le Roi Soleil - Stagecoach Vineyard" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 08-24-2018
This dark purple/black glycerin textured wine shows concentrated flavors and aromas of ripe blackberry, cassis, smoke, earth and charcoal that are deep and intense. Sweet, fat, smooth and lovingly polished, this drinks like one of the $200-$300 super wines coming out of Napa these days. The 1800 ft. elevation and volcanic soils of Pritchard Hill are evident in the classy structure and massive but balanced flavors.

2015 Baret Rouge, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 08-24-2018
There is a gravely edge to the oodles of sweet, red fruit in this super aromatic wine. The wine is bright and lively with a loamy edge to the long, elegant finish. This can age but is delicious now.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

2016 Château de Bellet Bellet Blanc
Review Date: 08-16-2018
This tasty and clean version of 100% Vermentino offers slight musky scents before the ripe stone fruit flavors take over the firm middle. The chalky mineral tug on the finish is a great counterpoint to the textured mid-palate and adds even more intrigue to this interesting wine that makes me think of Chenin Blanc grown in the Jura. Very unique and very tasty.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2017 Domaine de la Ferme Blanche Cassis Rouge
Review Date: 08-16-2018
This 100% Mourvedre Bandol wannabe is deep, meaty and leathery with a hearty personality just begging for rich food or braised meats. Chewy dark fruit, spice, dried flowers and ripe, rounded tannins create a substantial mouthful when this is tasted. A bold and delicious wine to decant tonight or lay away for many years.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2015 Cap St-George, St-Georges-St-Emilion
Review Date: 08-16-2018
This lush and balanced wine from the tiny satellite region of St. George St. Emilion drinks like a much more prestigious bottle from neighboring St. Emilion but at half the price. Scents of ripe cherry, vanilla and subtle toast blend with a middle of blackberry jam, mineral and sweet tannins with just enough balancing acidity to keep you wanting another sip. Delicious now but three to five years in a cellar should do wonders.

2016 Domaine de Verquière Vacqueyras
Review Date: 08-10-2018
This is fresh and juicy with flavors and aromas of berries, cherries, licorice, spice and cracked pepper in beautiful proportion. The wine is complex and elegant with a lively middle and a clean, palate clearing finish that would compliment most any type of food. Here is an easy to drink and tasty bargain.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JD 89 - 92

2016 Brooks Estate "Ara" Eola-Amity Hills Riesling
Review Date: 08-01-2018
This is delicious and refreshing with flowery, spicy aromas and classic flavors of white peach and ripe pear. The finish is just off-dry with a delicate talc texture that lengthens the finish and makes this food friendly wine just perfect for Summer.
Price: Hidden View Price
VN 93

2016 Eyrie Dundee Hills Pinot Gris
Review Date: 08-01-2018
Aromas of ripe stone fruits and pith jump from the glass when this is poured. The middle of crushed melon and citrus is rich,lively and very mouth watering. There is good drive to the leesy finish along with a touch of mineral. Quite quaffable.

2015 Château de Bellet "Baron G" Bellet Blanc
Review Date: 08-01-2018
This starts out with rather earthy aromas of honeyed stone fruit and citrus. The middle is layered and textured with an almost oxidative quality to the crushed melon and apricot fruit flavors that are fresh and complex. A fine and lingering mineral expression helps this bold wine finish clean and long. 95% Vermentino quirky, geeky and perfect for jaded palates.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

2011 Badia di Morrona "N'Antia"
Review Date: 08-01-2018
I remember tasting the 1997 vintage of this Super Tuscan in 2000 and being wowed by the combination of richness and complexity presented in such an easygoing and approachable style. The wines are even better today and its great to have them back in stock. Aromas of cherry syrup, damp soil and roasted herbs zoom from this when first poured then ease into mid-palate flavors of blackberry and huckleberry. The wine is ripe, fat textured and generous with tons of upfront charm as well as a serious nature lurking underneath. Ripe and sleek tannins glide effortlessly on the finish where there is a big dig into the Tuscan soil. Decant this delicious wine today or cellar for 10 plus years.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2015 Malescasse, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 07-24-2018
Malescasse once again turns out a bright, zippy wine that melds fruit, structure and complexity in equal proportions. The ripe tannins are beautifully coated with sweet raspberry fruit along with touches of potpourri, licorice and gently crushed herbs in an approachable style that will also age gracefully.

2015 Tanesse Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
Review Date: 07-24-2018
Here is an amazing bargain filled with chocolaty Merlot flavors that are lush and balanced right through to the fine tannic finish. The combination of fruit and structure is rare at this price.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

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