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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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2019 La Playa Sauvignon Blanc Curico Valley
Review Date: 11-30-2019
A bright, crisp slightly grassy style with a touch of verbena. This is perfectly crush-able sitting on a deck or patio or just after work. Priced to buy by the case.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2017 Montesco "Agua de Roca" Sauvignon Blanc Uco Valley
Review Date: 11-30-2019
This has weight and texture coupled with good ripeness but still manages to come off as reserved and definitely "old school" A rather sophisticated bottle that is quite refreshing.
Price: Hidden View Price

2016 Palais Cardinale, St-Emilion
Review Date: 11-30-2019
Here is a very pretty and seductive wine that is fruity and fresh. This has lively red fruits in a smooth and elegant style that really hides the tanins. Well priced for a St-Emilion.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2016 Trébiac, Graves
Review Date: 11-30-2019
Here is a screaming value in delicious, drinkable Bordeaux. As always this is full of dark berry and plum fruit with that earthy, gravely quality lurking underneath. The texture is supple and sleek with a nice softness to the rounded tannins on the finish.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 La Fleur Peyrabon, Pauillac
Review Date: 11-30-2019
Pauillac for 25 bucks has become almost non existent but this stays true to the appellation at a great entry level price. This is surprisingly red fruited with berries, plums and good mid-palate density and a creamy mouth feel. The smooth, mineral laced finish makes this very easy to drink young. I'm delighted to have this back in stock.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2017 Carlisle "Papera Ranch" Russian River Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 11-22-2019
Here is a powerhouse with ample fruit and plenty of structure working in perfect harmony and deft balance. The dark, glossy fruit is not jammy or overripe, but rather, clean and extraordinarily deep. This is fresh and tensile with a long, dry finish showing no heat whatsoever. A master class in Zin.
Price: $49.95 Add To Cart

2018 Bonny Doon Vineyard "Le Cigare Volant - Cuvee Oumuamua" Monterey County Rhône Blend
Review Date: 11-16-2019
The new iteration of Le Cigare Volant replaces the Mourvedre with Cinsault and five years aging with only one year. The result is a fresher, and more lively wine with brighter aromatics of potpourri and crunchier mixed berry fruit. This is delicious, refreshing and about half the price of previous offerings. BRAVO. At this price you can now buy by the case.
Price: $19.95 Add To Cart

2010 d'Armailhac, Pauillac
Review Date: 11-08-2019
This has up front lifted aromas and lots of iron tinges dark and glossy fruit. The body is sweet, dense and balanced and the polished tannins will allow for decanting and enjoying even at this young age.

2016 Le Pape, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 11-08-2019
The folks at Haut-Bailly have fashioned a fine, clean and elegant wine from this vineyard. This shows all the grace and charm you expect from Haut-Bailly but without the steely structure that requires a decade of ageing. Decant this tonight and cellar the other offerings from this Great Estate.

2016 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 11-08-2019
The 2016 is a sleek style with crunchy mixed berries and dark boysenberry fruit filling the dark, cool middle. This is fresh and lifted, showing the precision of the vintage but still holding back on the richness that is buried in the middle

2017 Bründlmayer "Kamptaler Terrassen" Riesling Kamptal
Review Date: 11-08-2019
This is dry, firm and bracing with notes of spiced green apple, petrol, under ripe peach and dried citrus rind. Elegant, fine and ethereal for those who like to contemplate whats in their glass.

2017 Stolpman "Estate" Ballard Canyon Syrah
Review Date: 10-25-2019
Once again an outstanding wine and an outstanding value. This is fruity, dense, and very deftly balanced between the dark fruit flavors, iron minerality and hints of beef blood on the intense finish. Folks who love northern Rhone Syrahs need to know how well these Stolpman wines over-perform.

2016 Louis M. Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-25-2019
The entire range of Louis Martini Cabernets are impressive on a price vs quality scale, but this might be the best overall value among them. This is hearty and balanced, with lots of upfront spicy, dark fruit, and toast. The tannins are quite ripe and there is a rounded and silky edge to the impressive finish. This is a lot of Napa Cab for 35 bucks.
Price: $34.95 Add To Cart

2000 Lestage, Listrac-Médoc
Review Date: 10-03-2019
This firm, dark and husky wine is exactly what you expect from a 2000 vintage Medoc. Thought approachable with decanting this has the concentration and burly mid-palate to continue to evolve for another decade. The blackberry and plum fruit almost bury the damp clay and mineral accents on the chewy finish. A legendary vintage and lots of wine for the money.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2004 Moulin-Haut-Laroque, Fronsac
Review Date: 10-03-2019
This is dark and fresh with raspberry, currant and earthy aromas and good middle weight. There is a smooth, plush texture with no edges or noticeable tannin and good ripeness on this easy to drink bargain. A ready to drink wine with a lot of life ahead. Robert Parker calls this a sleeper of the vintage.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2018 Domaine du Vieil Orme Sauvignon Touraine Blanc
Review Date: 10-02-2019
This is bracing and clean with invigorating aromas of lemon, orchard fruit, and citrus blossom. There is a talc-like limestone presence to the intense mid-palate of peach and dried apricot fruit that adds texture to this weightless wine. The finish is tensile and long, with chalky and mouth-watering minerality adding a palate-cleansing gush at the very end.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2018 Bedouet "Clos des Grands Primos" Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie
Review Date: 09-21-2019
A delicious and classic version with chiseled citrus, white fruits and a refreshing and salty finish. There is plenty of rich, round fruit in the middle before the mouth watering finish clamps down. Super palate cleansing and refreshing.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2016 Fleur Cardinale, St-Emilion
Review Date: 09-19-2019
There is a touch of smoke and exotic spice poking through all the creamy plum and boysenberry fruit fruit in this somewhat exotic and modern wine. The plush oak tinged middle is satin textured and leads to a silky finish. This is rich and very easy to drink.

2009 Sociando-Mallet "Cuvée Jean Gautreau" Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 09-19-2019
There are some dark, meaty notes to this big, hearty wine which possesses plenty of ripe, sweet fruit and a deep, chewy texture. There is a beefy element that may remind some of the Northern Rhone but the 2009 weather gave this all the warm, roasted fruit you would expect from this great vintage. This is a big and approachable bottle to pair with substantial fare.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2016 l'Avocat Rouge, Graves
Review Date: 09-19-2019
This is surprisingly rich for the appellation but clearly shows the freshness and precision this amazing vintage delivers. This is fruity and gravely with lush mid-palate flavors of ripe cherry and blackberry and a touch of mineral on the smooth finish.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2015 Marquis de Mons, Margaux
Review Date: 09-19-2019
This elegant wine is filled with red fruits and berries in a fine and clean style. The long classy lines give a classic expression of Margaux at an approachable price.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2014 Tronquoy-Lalande Blanc, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 09-19-2019
This delicious and powerful white is filled with orchard fruit flavors, spiced apricot and almond paste in a round and deep style. Lots of mineral aromas and flavors show up on the long finish of concentrated dried grapefruit pith.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

2016 Les Grands Chenes, Médoc
Review Date: 09-19-2019
Here is a toasty and broad wine that proudly struts its oak influence. This is husky and deep with the array of dark fruit keeping the vanilla and spice firmly in check on the full, satisfying finish.

2016 Meyney, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 08-15-2019
This is very dark with ripe tannins poking through the leather and tobacco laced boysenberry and blackberry fruit. The wine is substantial and firm and has a very polished finish of dark fruit, clay and mineral.

2016 Le Thil, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 08-15-2019
This has brambly blackberry and huckleberry fruit flavors along with toasty aromas and a touch of wild black cherry. Scorched earth, dried herb and well integrated ripe tannins round out the mineral laced finish.

2016 de Chantegrive Rouge, Graves
Review Date: 08-15-2019
Here is a softer, gentler style of Graves with a milky sweetness adding complexity to the earthy blackberry and dark currant fruit. There is a fresh streak of mineral in the rich Merlot dominated finish. This is easy to drink and delicious now.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

1997 Gaudin, Pauillac
Review Date: 07-31-2019
It's almost impossible to find a Pauillac for under 30 bucks these days so finding one that is 20 years old and drinking beautifully is a real coup. This is dark and firm with iron minerality and good sweetness to the blackberry fruit. No hard edges here just a substantial and satisfying mouthful that really tastes like the appellation it hails from. Enjoy this tonight.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2015 Fort Lignac, Haut-Medoc
Review Date: 07-20-2019
This well proportioned wine is gravely and chewy with a deep middle of sweet plum and black currant fruit. The aromas are toasty and lifted lending this a real sense of elegance despite the tannic structure. This punches well above its weight class and is best decanted.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2015 Siaurac, Lalande de Pomerol
Review Date: 07-18-2019
This easy to drink wine starts with a flowery expression that melds to a silky middle of black currant and dark cherry fruit. This is satin textured, savory and a fantastically smooth and delicious drink.

2016 Baron de Malleret, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 06-26-2019
This screaming deal encapsulates everything that is great about the 2016 Bordeaux vintage. This is smooth, sweet and glossy with lush raspberry fruit accented by cocoa and vanilla shadings. There is plenty of freshness and length along with ideal ripeness in this easy drinking beauty.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2009 Guiraud, Sauternes
Review Date: 06-26-2019
Here is a substantial wine that impresses more with richness than sweetness. This fat and waxy wine is crammed with honey, orange oil, papaya, saffron, ginger and tarragon in a creamy and mouth filling style. Opulent and exotic.

2015 Barde-Haut, St-Emilion
Review Date: 06-22-2019
A bit more flamboyant than many Barde-Haut offerings and showing the richness of the vintage but with plenty of tension and tell tail mineral on the finish. This shows off ripe raspberries, fig and dark plum fruit in the dense middle before the tannin and mineral buried underneath pull the finish along.

2014 Barde-Haut, St-Emilion
Review Date: 06-22-2019
This is filled with ripe red fruits, cedar and milk chocolate in a rich but clean style that shows off the structure of the vintage. Hints of savory herb, light tobacco and subtle spice show up on the finish. Delicious now but with a long life ahead.

2014 Chateau Simone Palette Rouge
Review Date: 06-14-2019
This delicious and unique wine is bold but super balanced and very sophisticated. Hints of oak along with dark currants, red and blue berries and violets fill the aromas and flavors of the sleek and substantial middle. The finish is long, dry and polished.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

2017 Les Têtes "Tête" VDF Rouge
Review Date: 06-13-2019
Here is a great Summer sipper that will appeal to all lovers of the popular Bistro reds from the Loire Valley that populate every outdoor cafe in Paris. This "Natural Wine" has aromas of tobacco, earth and dark berries in abundance. The middle is filled with juicy raspberries and the finish is of clean, dark slate. Palate cleansing, food friendly and unique!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

Miquel Pons Cava Brut Penedes
Review Date: 06-12-2019
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 picnics and parties.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

La Petite Marquise Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé
Review Date: 06-06-2019
This is long and fine with red cherry fruit and a persistent limestone laced finish. There is an amazing amount of elegance and restraint showing here for only 13 bucks. A remarkable value that is as easy on the palate as the wallet.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2018 Château de Montfaucon Lirac Rosé
Review Date: 05-31-2019
Here is a great and affordable choice for lovers of the deep and powerful rose' coming from the Tavel region of the Southern Rhone. The substantial middle of wild raspberry, ripe black cherry and spice is full, focused and mouth filling. Is that a whisper of tannin on the firm, mineral laced finish? This is delicious on its own but would be a perfect match for grilled salmon or surf & turf.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2017 Baron de Montfaucon Côtes du Rhône Blanc
Review Date: 05-30-2019
Fans of the Montfaucon whites will find this bottling a bit more forward and open knit than the other offerings. This has flowery aromas of citrus blossom and assorted ripe stone fruits-especially white peach. A touch of glycerin adds texture to the rich mid-palate of baked apricot and warm peach and the honeyed finish is stony, dry and refreshing. This is invigorating enough for Summer sipping but has the weight and texture to carry you straight through the Winter Holidays.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

2016 Clos Fourtet, St-Emilion
Review Date: 04-25-2019
A wine of impressive raw material that is put together so seamlessly you will be tempted to drink it too young. Scents of violets, lavender and licorice lead to a glycerin textured middle of brambly raspberry and ripe black cherry fruit that resonate with hints of creosote and limestone. This big, sexy wine finishes quite elegantly with sweet, fine tannin. Decant tonight if you dare but it will only get better with time.

2017 Pessac-Léognan de Haut Bailly, Pessac-Leognan
Review Date: 04-24-2019
The 3rd wine of Haut-Bailly is a bargain and one of the first 2017's to land on our shelves. This is red fruited with aromas of gravel and spice and a supple texture for early drinking. The body is lively and fresh with the fruit and spice ending in a finish of very faint tannin. Decant and enjoy.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2016 Enclos Tourmaline, Pomerol
Review Date: 04-24-2019
This deep purple 100% Merlot from vineyards near Fleur Petrus and Clinet is thick and creamy with a middle of deep blue fruit and aromas of chiseled granite. The wine is substantial but effortless with the tannisn taking on an almost plush texture as they poke through all the glossy fruit. A modern monster just waiting to be uncoiled.

2016 Berliquet, St-Emilion
Review Date: 04-24-2019
This is a firm and husky bottle that needs to be decanted to allow the fine grippy tannins on the finish to soften. As the wine opens a complex chorus of red fruits including ripe cherry and sweet raspberry take over the mid-palate along with hints of red licorice. This will evolve for many years to come.

2016 Les Griffons de Pichon-Baron, Pauillac
Review Date: 04-24-2019
The 2nd wine of Pichon Baron is full of dark fruits, bakers chocolate, dark plums, a touch of iron and a plump, seamless texture. This big, masculine wine has everything in place and projects both power and finesse. Decant tonight or cellar 10 years.

2014 Lilian Ladouys, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 04-24-2019
One of only a handful of properties that can claim to have produced a wine as good (or better?) than their 2015. This starts with lively and complex aromas of spice and ripe berries. The mid-palate is smooth and filled with crunchy currant fruit and a tensile chalky finish. an over achieving bargain.

2015 Tenuta Roveglia "Vigne di Catullo" Lugana Riserva
Review Date: 04-23-2019
This is round, rich and textured with the weight and ripeness beautifully balanced by fresh acidity on the finish of salty mineral and juicy golden delicious apple. The middle is filled with ripe peach, almond and sweet crushed melon flavors. Generous and refreshing.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2014 Big Sky Te Muna Road Pinot Noir Martinborough
Review Date: 04-18-2019
This is somewhat big and beefy but with an overlay of oak laced creamy and sweet cherry fruit. A touch of savory umami and soy along with faint whiffs of smoke add interest and complexity to the finish. Interesting and well priced.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2015 Tongue in Groove "Cabal Vineyard" Pinot Noir Waipara Valley
Review Date: 04-18-2019
This is filled with smoky black fruit, a touch of earth and hints of spice in a nicely ripe and dense package that stays very fresh and clean on the finish. A touch heavier than many New Zealand Pinots but with lots of finesse and absolutely lovely flavors.

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: Hidden View Price

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: Hidden View Price

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