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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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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

2007 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 06-12-2019
This "Old School" claret is a gentle, approachable bargain to pop open any time you get the urge for a glass of classic Bordeaux that won't break the bank. There are both red and dark fruit flavors here in a easy drinking package that will have you reaching for another glass. Over 10 years of age and under $20!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 d'Arce, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 06-12-2019
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. These wines keep getting better and better.

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

2016 Farnetella Chianti Colli Senesi
Review Date: 06-06-2019
This is surprisingly structured for the price point but has a rich overlay of ripe cherry fruit and a clean and wonderfully dry finish. Another pure and delicious bargain to buy by the case and drink with pizza, pasta, burgers or any picnic fare.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
JS 91

Deligeroy "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

2016 Château de Montfaucon Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 05-31-2019
Our best selling "small producer" Rhone red is a shade richer and more substantial than in past vintages but retains all the lively dark fruit and crunchy berry flavors we expect from this bottling. Blackberries, potpourri, savory herb, licorice and an assortment of exotic spices fill the aromas and flavors of this amazing bargain.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

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
WS 91 RP 90

2018 Domaine la Colombe Coteaux Varois en Provence Rosé
Review Date: 05-01-2019
This is a fruity style of rose that finishes dry, clean and crisp. The aromas of fresh mixed berries and sparkling mineral water fairly jump from the glass when poured. The mouth watering middle is filled with juicy watermelon and ripe red fruits that persist on the lingering, palate teasing finish. Delicious and refreshing.
Price: $12.99 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.

2012 Albatreti Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 04-25-2019
An absolutely delicious wine from an elegant and balanced vintage to decant tonight or lay away. This is rich and ripe with an earthy nose of baked soil and an intense middle of ripe and savory cherry fruit in a round and approachable style. The wine is becoming quite burnished with hints of leather poking through the dry finish of ripe tannin.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
JS 93

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 Roc de Cambes, Côtes de Bourg
Review Date: 04-24-2019
The 2016 version of this wine is big, dark and oaky but with a long, sweet finish of ripe tannin and a real sense of freshness. The middle of blackberry and plum fruit is accented by Asian spice and charred mesquite and seems to plump up as he wine takes on air. A winner from one of the best properties of the appellation.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
VN 94

2016 de l'Aurage, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 04-24-2019
This tasty bargain shows up front flavors and aromas of sweet cherry fruit, red berries, oak spice and a touch of milk chocolate on the smooth finish. Here is an elegant and easy to drink youngster that has character and freshness in spades.

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
WE 92

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
BC 93 RP 91

2017 Villa Maria "Private Bin" Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 04-18-2019
This is the very first New Zealand wine I ever tried many, many years ago way before wines from that country were a topic of discussion so it was fun to re-visit it after all these years. I can still see why this attracted me to this style of refreshing white; floral aromas and flavors of cut grass, earthy sweet pea, passion fruit and juicy lime zest all done up in a mouth watering style. This is delicious, thirst quenching and affordable.
Price: $9.99 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: $34.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 DC 91

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.

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

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

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

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

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