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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 Raul Perez La Vizcaína "Las Gundiñas" Bierzo
Review Date: 04-16-2019
This exciting and organic blend is bases primarily on the Mencia grape along with a host of other indigenous types. Aromas and flavors of both red and dark berries along with hints of licorice and iron are immediately present when poured. There is a meaty quality to this ripe and robust wine which ends with a fine tannic grip.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 DC 91

2017 Luis Seabra "Xisto Ilimitado" Branco Douro
Review Date: 04-16-2019
This Geeky but delicious wine is basically a dry white port that is filled with aromas and flavors of white fig and almond paste. This is substantial with a middle of sweet stone fruit that ends with a lingering, salty finish. A must try for jaded palates.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2017 Inizi "Saini Vineyard" Dry Creek Valley Tocai Friulano
Review Date: 04-16-2019
Finally, a domestic version of this varietal that can go head to head against its N. Italian counterparts. This is from a vineyard planted in 1930 and the fruit is selected vine-by-vine from a mixed field block. Beautifully textured and aromatic , this shows gardenia, citrus blossom, wet stone and lemon and lime zest along with a bracing and dry finish. Only 75 cases produced and well worth a try.
Price: $26.95 Add To Cart

2016 Madson Wines "P.M. Staiger Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Review Date: 04-16-2019
This vineyard planted in 1967 produced a wine with honeyed aromatics and ripe flavors of Golden Delicious apples. There is a whisper of chalk on the fine, clean finish. This is not a brawny monster but rather a beverage of quiet contemplation to match to delicate fare.
Price: $34.95 Add To Cart

2017 Rippon "Rippon" Mature Vine Riesling Lake Wanaka Central Otago (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 04-16-2019
This is a biodynamic wine of great transparency showing petrol, slate, wet stone and citrus fruit in a clean, steely style. The electric acidity completely tamps down the 8 grams of residual sugar and this finishes with a long, dry tongue tingling austerity, Palate cleansing and delicious.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JS 96

2017 Kumeu River "Maté's Vineyard" Chardonnay New Zealand
Review Date: 04-16-2019
Aromas of toast, vanilla shadings, apple blossom and a touch of caramel stay clean and focused when this is poured and sniffed. The mid-palate is full of yellow apple and peach fruit and finishes with vibrant mineral intensity. This is clean, classy and sophisticated.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
JS 97 VN 94

2017 Gentilini Robola of Cephalonia Greece
Review Date: 04-11-2019
This delicious and super interesting wine hits all the geek factors some of you are looking for but is also a great drink in its own right. Spicy somewhat Gruner-like aromas highlight a steely ocean breeze middle of tight, clean fruit and ease into a complex finish of slightly salty chalk dust. I would love this with oysters or fried sea critters.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2000 Joël Taluau Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 04-11-2019
Here is an amazing deal in well aged and ready to drink Cabernet Franc direct from the cool cellars of the Chateau. This is filled with earthy black cherry fruit, tapenade and savory tobacco in a sweet and husky style that remains fresh and fruity. This is deep, hearty, beautifully mature and drinking perfectly right now.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2015 J. Wilkes Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 04-11-2019
This is savory, light and clean with spiced berry flavors and an interesting untamed quality. It reminds me of an unfined, unfiltered Village level Burgundy from a classic vintage like 2016. Tasty and affordable.
Price: $19.95 Add To Cart
W&S 90

2017 Lúuma (Scribe) Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 04-11-2019
A fun easygoing and fresh style that has plenty of weight and texture but stays clean and steely on the finish. I love these bright, palate cleansing styles of white for parties, picnics and sipping on the patio.
Price: $19.95 Add To Cart

2017 Piedrasassi "PS" Santa Barbara Syrah
Review Date: 04-11-2019
Here is an absolute steal in cool climate Syrah that is complex, affordable and has a touch of old world charm. This has aromas of raw meat, iron and flowers along with an array of dark fruit flavors that are clean and ripe. The body is tensile, lively and impeccably fresh. A true bargain Syrah.
Price: $21.95 Add To Cart

2015 Gran Moraine Yamhill Carlton Pinot Noir
Review Date: 04-11-2019
This deeply colored wine is flashy but balanced and throws up a solid core of oak tinged raspberry cream, baking spices and dark berry fruit in a rich and seamless package. This is approachable and delicious.

2016 Hanzell "Sebella" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 04-11-2019
There is plenty of weight and texture to this earthy wine filled with clean and crunchy flavors of cranberry, rhubarb and black cherry. Another winner from Hanzel's bargain line.
Price: $29.95 Add To Cart
WE 90

2017 Do Ferreiro "Cepas Vellas" Albariño Rias Baixas
Review Date: 04-11-2019
If you are a white wine geek and have never tasted Albarino from 150-200 year old vines you need to give this a try. Saline, ocean spray aromas zoom from this along with flowery citrus blossom scents. The mid-palate is thick textured with Chablis-like flinty green flavors and an indescribable and alluring wet paste minerality on the finish. Hide a bottle of this in your cellar next to your Grand Cru white Burgundies for the next decade.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
RP 95

2015 Crabitey Rouge, Graves
Review Date: 04-10-2019
This starts out warm, soft and ripe with wonderfully perfumy aromas of baked red fruit. The finish is ripe and gravely with just enough tug to make you want a burger or slice of pizza.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

2004 Alvaro Palacios "Finca Dofi" Priorat
Review Date: 04-10-2019
This mature and complex bottle will appeal to drinkers of classic Bordeaux. The wine is showing aromas of burnished leather to compliment the mint, plum, and olive that are embedded in the smooth, elegant middle. Although the fruit is sweet and the body is rich this finishes dry and long.

2016 Schiavenza Nebbiolo delle Langhe
Review Date: 03-29-2019
This Old School bottling from a classic producer is basically a working man's Barolo. The brick color gives way to aromas of dried flowers, tarry earth and cherry. The cherry flavors persist through the elegant, balanced middle and into the long, dry finish of firm, ripe tannins. A classic and affordable food wine for sure.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2015 La Ca' Nova "Montefico Vigna Bric Mentina" Barbaresco
Review Date: 03-29-2019
I love this big, bold ruby colored wine for its sweet core of chewy fruit that is tamped down by the thick, ripe tannins on the finish. The hearty structure has an almost plush overlay of warm fruit that adds real depth to the mid-palate.This is a perfect match for Bolognese, risotto, polenta or anything in a rich cream sauce.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
VN 93

2016 Domaine Tourbillon Gigondas Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 03-29-2019
When first poured this throws off just the faintest whiff of earthy funk, which is quickly overshadowed by vivid aromas of wildflowers, Herbs de Provence and spice. The substantial middle is filled with juicy and crunchy red and dark fruits, pepper, spice box and nori. The complex finish is long and fruity with no trace of heat which will have you reaching for another sip of this aristocratic and delicious wine.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JD 91 - 94

2014 Giovi Etna "Akraton" Rosso
Review Date: 03-29-2019
This starts out with alluring aromas of light smoke and chimney ash which lead to subtle cherry, banana and apricot notes. The wine is delicate, complex and dry with very fine tannins that lengthen the finish. This should work equally well with both sophisticated and rustic fare but is great for swirling and sipping on its own as it evolves in the glass.
Price: $28.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$23.99

1998 Clos de Sarpe, St-Emilion
Review Date: 03-27-2019
There is still a bit of toasty oak poking through all the dark plum and ripe boysenberry fruit that is nicely shaded by cedar and palate tugging mineral. 1998 was a great vintage in St-Emilion and at 20 years old this is silky, seamless, plush and drinking beautifully right now.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2015 Domaine l'Oiselet Vacqueyras
Review Date: 03-21-2019
This is delicious and affordable in an easy-drinking and forward style. Earth, berries, red and dark fruits and licorice blend in a rich, warm and inviting manner. The finish is fresh and clean and has a gravely, pebbly character.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$14.99
RP 88 - 90

2015 Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas
Review Date: 03-21-2019
This starts with high toned notes of crunchy berries, cherries and lavender. The mid-palate shows darker fruits along with seaweed, licorice and spice which lead into a surprisingly clean finish for such a substantial wine.

2014 Site Wines "Stolpman Vineyard" Roussanne Santa Barbara County
Review Date: 03-21-2019
This 100% Roussanne is fat, honeyed and waxy but with enough acidity to keep from being heavy or cloying. The smooth, plump middle of baked apricot and ripe stone fruits also hints at citrus, saffron and tarragon and there is a palate cleansing well water freshness to the finish. An outstanding bottle.

2017 Jacky Blot Domaine de la Butte "Pied de la Butte" Bourgueil
Review Date: 03-20-2019
The gravel and clay soils help make this a brighter and fresher version of Cabernet Franc but there is plenty of depth to the ripe red berries, cola and savory tobacco flavors and aromas embedded in the rich middle. There is a lingering sweetness to the gravely and mineral laced finish.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JG 92

2016 Domaine Petroni Corse Rouge (Corsica)
Review Date: 03-20-2019
This amazing value shows aromas of earth, garrigue, savory berries and dried flowers that accents the plump,dark fruit in the spicy middle. The finish is bone dry and the wine is lively, complex, food friendly and super easy to drink.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$9.99
JD 94

2017 Skouras Moscofilero Péloponnèse Greece
Review Date: 03-14-2019
Aromas of honeysuckle, citrus blossom and lime jump from this as it is swirled in the glass. The juicy middle of crushed stone fruit is mouth watering and palate cleansing and despite the oodles of fruit finishes dry and refreshing. A simply fresh and delicious value.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2017 Iovine Gragnano Rosso Frizzante
Review Date: 02-27-2019
This frothy, deep purple and super grapey wine is deeply fruited, dry and tons of fun. Dark flavors of ripe black cherry and grape hard candy are lifted by the fizz and make this a great bottle for picnics, BBQs, burgers or just gulping. Finally, the perfect pizza wine. Serve chilled.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
VN 92

2016 Colombaio di Santa Chiara "Campo Pieve" Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Review Date: 02-26-2019
Here is a rich and textured white supported by an amazing beam of acidity that keeps the many layers focused, clean and refreshing. Honeyed aromas of crushed flowers lead to a substantial middle of ripe orchard fruit, sweet citrus and palate clearing mineral. This big, mouth-filling wine is pure pleasure in a bottle.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

2017 Laventura Viura Rioja
Review Date: 02-26-2019
Stone fruit aromas jump from this wine along with wonderfully textured flavors of white peach and almond. The wine is fresh, clear and fruity showcasing fine minerality on the saline finish. This is delicious and pure.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Cap St-George, St-Georges-St-Emilion
Review Date: 02-23-2019
This opulent and easy-to-like wine is filled with creamy raspberry, cherry and vanilla flavors in a rich, flavorful style. The wine is round, juicy and modern in the best sense of the word and already screams "drink me." The limestone-laced finish is long and shows just the right fine, tannic tug to keep things in balance. Another delicious over-achiever from this amazing vintage.

2016 La Tour Léognan, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 02-21-2019
The 2nd wine of Chateau Carbonnieux gives all the class and sophistication you would expect from that Great Growth but really over delivers on the price/quality ratio. The wine is clean, sleek and focused with blackberry fruit, gravel and unsweetened baking chocolate flavors and scents all in wonderful equilibrium. The stony middle is fruit filled, rich,poised and elegant but unfolds into a strong finish laced with pure mineral. Class in a glass for only $20.00.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

Honorío Rubio "Añadas" Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 02-21-2019
This fascinating solara blend of about 10 vintages reminds me of a somewhat more burnished version of an orange wine. Woody and nutty with a rancio quality to the apricot and honey flavors and acacia aromas this stays complex and compelling throughout. This finishes bitter, savory and long. A unique and delicious wine with Geek appeal.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2014 Honorío Rubio "Lías Finas" Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 02-21-2019
This starts with citrus blossom aromas which lead to a rich, leesy middle of smoky white fruit showing just a hint of Sherry character. There is a touch of bitter pith to the bold finish of salty and ripe stone fruit. Bold, unique and delicious.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2015 Pike Road Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 02-21-2019
The 2nd wine of Elk Cove has the abundance of red and dark fruit you expect from this property but is a bit more high toned and forward. Although not as deep and chewy as the First wine has enough structure to carry the fruit and finishes long and dry. There is lots of pedigree showing in this fruity, complex yet restrained bargain.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2016 Tenuta di Sesta Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 02-20-2019
Here is a Rosso that will remind you of a much more expensive Brunello. There is plenty of fine structure hiding under the overt elegance and a sophistication not usually seen at this price point. The fruit flavors lean more toward the red spectrum (think cherry and strawberry) but there are already hints of leather poking through the earthy finish of roasted herbs. Decant one hour at least.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
DC 90

2015 Tormaresca "Neprica" Super Puglia
Review Date: 02-20-2019
This best selling bargain is fantastic year after year. This is husky, earthy and ripe (not too ripe) with a savory tone to compliment all the dark fruit. This is very food friendly so drink it any time you would reach for a more expensive Super Tuscan.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

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

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.

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

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 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.

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