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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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2016 Bodegas Aleanna "El Enemigo" Chardonnay Mendoza
Review Date: 12-12-2018
This is textured and weighty but with freshness to the middle of dried pit fruits, almonds and citrus. The finish is long and leesy with a hint of clarified butter and a full, dry palate. Here is a substantial and rich white with interesting complexity and enough oomph to handle hearty food.

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.

2015 Eric Kent "1 KM West" Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 12-11-2018
This is toasty and bright with just a whiff of a tropical profile before the ripe apple and pear flavors take hold. The acidity is well integrated and there is plenty of weight and texture to counterbalance the oak and ample fruit. This is a bargain for the style and stops well short of being at all over the top.
Price: Hidden View Price
WS 92

2016 Domaine Petroni Corse Rouge (Corsica)
Review Date: 11-29-2018
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

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

2015 Domaine Les Pins Bourgueil Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 11-28-2018
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 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

2016 Domaine de la Réserve d'O "Hissez O" Terrasses du Larzac
Review Date: 11-28-2018
This has turned a corner and is absolutely singing right now. The wine is big and lush with creamy boysenberry and other dark fruits, a touch of licorice and plenty of husky grip on the finish. Although bold and rich this is poised and fresh with wonderful balance of fruit, structure and length.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 - 94

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

1996 Haut-Bages Libéral, Pauillac
Review Date: 11-10-2018
This super consistent under the radar 5th Growth seems to be quietly snatched up by in the know connoisseurs looking for classic Pauillac that doesn't break the bank. This starts with aromas and flavors of pencil lead, cedar closet, dusty cherry and red plum that blends in with notions of milk chocolate. The middle is firm and clean with a lingering finish of mineral and persistent sweetness.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

1989 Clarke, Listrac
Review Date: 11-10-2018
The folks at Lafite have owned this property since 1972 and continue to make one of the best values in the Listrac appellation. At almost 30 years old this is mellow and smooth with sweet fruit flavors along with tea, leather and dried flowers. Although structurally mature the wine retains good richness and a wonderfully dry finish.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

1999 Gaudin, Pauillac
Review Date: 11-10-2018
A Pauillac for under $30.00 is rare these days and one nearly 20 years old is unbelievable. This is super fresh for the vintage and shows lively aromas of flowers, graphite and red berries. The punchy middle is filled with bright red fruit flavors, a touch of savory herb and a long sweet finish. This bargain is exactly what Pauillac is all about.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2000 Lynch-Moussas, Pauillac
Review Date: 09-14-2018
There is plenty of ripe, rich red and dark fruit in this husky wine that shows the power of the vintage. This is dense with a savory touch to the bold fruit flavors that turn to cedar and leather on the finish of fine tannin. A classic 2000 that is drinking beautifully right now.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

2001 Chasse-Spleen, Moulis
Review Date: 09-06-2018
This is the dominant player in the Moulis appellation and the 2001 is currently plush, gentle and long with the signature acidity of the vintage keeping the mature flavors fresh and vibrant. The mid-palate of baked cherry pie, cedar box, clay and potpourri dominate but the finish is lingering and long.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

2015 Pierre 1er, St-Emilion
Review Date: 09-06-2018
Here is a fabulous value that I don't hesitate to recommend to lovers of Napa Valley Cabernet due to the volume and intensity of the fruit. The substantial middle is smothered with dark berry cobbler and plum jam flavors along with herb and cedar closet scents. This deep and forward bottle is delicious now and should appeal to any lover of big, rich reds.

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.

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: $19.99 Add To Cart

2006 Ormes de Pez, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 09-05-2018
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

1990 Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 08-24-2018
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.
Price: $169.99 Add To Cart
WS 93 RP 90

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

2009 Verdignan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 08-24-2018
This is a firm and chewy wine that proudly shows off the caressing warmth of the flawless 2009 growing season. Dark plums, baked blackberry and warm cobbler flavors are roasted into the dark, brooding but delicious middle and almost hide the strong, ripe tannins on the powerful finish.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

2010 Belgrave, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 08-16-2018
This is dark and deep and shows off the perfection of the vintage with its classy structure and long, polished finish. A few hours of decanting lets the chewy core of sweet, ripe fruit begin to emerge but it would be a shame not to cellar this at least a few more years. Outstanding potential.

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: $24.99 Add To Cart

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 Blacksmith "C.L.R.T." Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 08-01-2018
This is filled with both red and dark fruits along with hints of cedar, red licorice and mint. The mid-palate is all about balance and enough acidity to hold all that fruit in place so that the complexity shines through even at this young age. This is a serious value in Napa Cabernet.
Price: Hidden View Price

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 Château 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

2015 Bois-Malot, Bordeaux Supérieur
Review Date: 07-24-2018
Like all vintages of Bois Malot this wine tastes and smells of Raspberries and earth but with a gentle middle and a soft finish due to the extraordinary vintage. This is round, seductive and filled with easy drinking character.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2015 Lavinea "Lazy River Vineyard" Yamhill-Carlton Chardonnay
Review Date: 07-18-2018
Lovers of White Burgundy should like this for its purity of fruit, focus and balance. Ripe pear and sweet citrus flavors along with a fine saline quality fill out the expansive middle before the finish of dried fruit and powered mineral take over. This is expressive, precise and detailed.

2017 Bodegas Colomé Torrontes Valle Calchaquí Salta
Review Date: 07-18-2018
Here is an amazing value for under $10.00. This is filled with crushed peach and juicy apricot flavors along with roasted tarragon, other savory herbs and a green flecked flinty, Chablis-like character. A mouth-filling, palate cleansing and just crushable bottle to buy by the case.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
DC 93 JS 91

2015 Mas Karolina Côtes du Roussillon-Villages
Review Date: 07-03-2018
This spicy and almost jammy wine will remind you of a well made Zinfandel with its bold flavors of spiced berries and ripe cherries. There is a touch of earth to go with all that juicy fruit and this never borders on heavy or over extracted. Here is a well priced and bold Old World wine with New World crossover appeal.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
RP 89 - 91

2012 Baxter "Oppenlander Vineyard" Mendocino Pinot Noir
Review Date: 07-03-2018
This is an absolutely wild Pinot Noir and one of the most interesting bottles I've tried lately. This small production hand crafted wine from a cool site starts with vivid aromas of bright red fruits and orange peel. There is a somewhat woodsy quality to the sweet and lively middle of dark fruits and fresh herbs and even a touch of sassafras and tree bark on the long, fine finish. Delicious and different.
Price: Hidden View Price
WE 90

2016 Stagård "Handwerk" Grüner Veltliner Kremstal
Review Date: 07-03-2018
This is green flecked and flinty with crunchy citrus and light pineapple flavors on the mouthwatering and juicy finish. This is delicious with good complexity and tension for the money.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

2016 Domaine du Petit Clocher Anjou Blanc
Review Date: 06-29-2018
This has intriguing musky aromas of dried apricots and ripe stone fruits along with hints of fresh white peach. The round rich middle leaves a full palate impression and the just off-dry finish is super food friendly.
Price: Hidden View Price

2016 Lucien Lardy "Côte du Py" Morgon
Review Date: 06-29-2018
This full-bodied wine has a deep core of dark fruit that retains balance due to the fresh acidity the vintage imparts. A rather beefy and hearty mid-palate lends a chewy impression that lasts right through the long, fruity finish.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
WE 93 RP 90

2015 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 06-29-2018
This is sleek, powerful and filled with red fruit flavors-particularly cherries. This seems light on its feet for a 2015 due to the wonderful balance but don't be fooled as there is plenty of stuffing and tension buried in the mid-palate. Super value that will age well.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 93

2017 Pra Soave Classico "Otto"
Review Date: 06-29-2018
100% Garganega from volcanic soils done all in stainless and completely delicious. This is intensely aromatic with rich salty stone fruit and a flinty, green flecked finish usually found in a Grand Cru Chablis. The purity of fruit and mid-palate heft are wonderfully tempered by fresh acidity and long mineral nuance. Vines 30 to 60 years old give great intensity.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2017 Frenzy Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand
Review Date: 06-29-2018
This is juicy, brisk and just a touch earthy with snappy lime and gooseberry flavors. Hints of dried herbs round out the middle before the mouth watering citrus flavors jump out on the mineral infused finish. A great Summer refresher bargain.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart
W&S 91 WS 90

2015 Baxter "Oppenlander Vineyard" Mendocino Chardonnay
Review Date: 06-29-2018
Think of this as a slightly richer and leesy-driven version of Chablis with a touch more texture and you have a good idea of what this absolutely delicious Chardonnay has to offer. This stays clean and chiseled but with a terroir-driven focus that plays wonderfully against the richness of the fruit.
Price: Hidden View Price

2017 Leone de Castris "Five Roses" Rosato
Review Date: 06-21-2018
This is super easy to drink so buy 2 bottles as the first will be empty before you know it. Bright red fruits along with berry and plum skin fill the expansive middle and leave a full palate impression. The finish is snappy and fresh but not at all austere and finishes with mouth watering minerality.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

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