Staff Favorites - Ralph Sands

Ralph Sands
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Ralph is the senior Bordeaux specialist on the sales staff. In between trying to break into professional baseball, Ralph was picking up hours at a K&L store in Millbrae. Back then it was more about kegs and cheap booze, and both Ralph and K&L have evolved since that time. Since those long ago days in 1978, Ralph has visited his beloved Bordeaux 37 times, evaluated 19 straight vintages and has escorted over 200 customers to Bordeaux on his "Taste and Golf the Greats Tours of Bordeaux". Ralph has also conducted tasting seminars in 9 different states as well as in France, Spain and Hong Kong. Ralph's passion for wine reaches far beyond Bordeaux; to the fine wine regions of Burgundy, Loire, Rhone, Germany, Oregon and of course his home state of California.


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2009 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 8-4-2014
Lots of perfume, elegant ripe fruit, very attractive.

2012 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 6-24-2014
**V One of the hottest wines in Bordeaux today and for good reason: Cantemerle is a lovely blend.

2012 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc (3L) Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 6-24-2014
**V One of the hottest wines in Bordeaux today and for good reason: Cantemerle is a lovely blend.

2012 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc (1.5L) Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 6-24-2014
**V One of the hottest wines in Bordeaux today and for good reason: Cantemerle is a lovely blend.

2012 Léoville-Poyferré, St-Julien Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 6-13-2014
* Another winner! Rich wine with good, long tannins.

2011 Maison Ambroise Bourgogne Rouge
Review Date: 5-22-2014
Solid and serious Bourgogne for well under 20 bucks! Strong Nuits style wine; zesty and mineral driven, spicy red fruit with hints of black licorice.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2007 Phélan-Ségur, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 5-19-2014
Very elegant cherry fruit from front to back.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart WE 90 BC 0

2013 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-14-2014
Huge layers of silky, ripe black fruits and the fact that it smells like Zinfandel define this wine! Behind all of this fruit is brisk acidity and a long finish. This wine will be controversial, but it is undeniably super tasty! *½

2013 Pichon-Baron, Pauillac Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-14-2014
Striking aromas of strong Cabernet Sauvignon (82%) jump out of the glass followed by dark, bold, powerful fruit. This wine is classic claret: firm, honest and perfectly balanced. No question, it is one of the top wines of the vintage and one of the best cellar candidates. *½

2013 Clos du Marquis, St-Julien Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-13-2014
* Presumed the second wine for decades, Leoville Las Cases now prefers to have Clos du Marquis known by its own identity as it is the separate parcel across the D2 road. In any case, it has been one of the greatest top quality value wines in Bordeaux for decades and I own many vintages. A bit more forward and softer than Las Cases but has deep sweet fruit with hints of mulberry, nice round tannins, very good wine.

2013 Branaire-Ducru, St-Julien Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-13-2014
Braniare Durcu- Honest as they come! Bright, fresh, elegant wine with tart cherry fruit. This tasty wine will be a lovely early drink.*

2013 Léoville-Poyferré, St-Julien Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-13-2014
Tasted 3 times at the Chateau, the UGC tasting and at negociant Joanne with inconsistent notes. Those notes are a firm reminder to me that these tastings are just a quick snapshot of the wine at 5 months old, not a finished wine and can show differently from day to day as the wine is always changing. At the UGC and the chateau the wine had all of the right components, deep, crimson-blood red fruit but came off raw and short on the finish with is not usually the case. At negociant Joanne the wine was singing! The fruit was far silkier, the tannins were much rounder and the wine was delicious.*

2013 Malescot-St-Exupéry, Margaux Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-13-2014
Big wine with loads of soft, sweet ripe fruit in layers. Good round tannins and lovely finish. Very impressive, tasty, lush wine that will drink well young.**

2013 Labégorce, Margaux Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-12-2014
Everyone should be aware that Delphine Colasa and winemaker Marjolaine Maurice-de-Coninck have turned this estate (and sister Ch. Marquis D'Alesme) around in just a few years; the wines are so much better now! Hats off! Labegorce has attractive-plump Merlot (53%) fruit with cassis, spice and earth. (Marquis d'Alseme is very bright and has more sparkling blue fruits and distinct minerality.) Both are star wines. *

2013 Langoa-Barton, St-Julien Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-8-2014
* Nice freshness, firm elegant wine with hints of cranberry and black cherry fruits. Consistent, tasted three times, classic claret at every tasting.

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Ralph Sands is also a fan of the following items. To become a fan of Ralph Sands, click here to join Ralph Sands's Personal Sommelier Service.
2005 Ducru-Beaucaillou, St-Julien ($229.99)

2005 La Fleur de Boüard, Lalande-de-Pomerol ($44.99)

2005 Lynch-Bages, Pauillac ($229.99)

2006 Phélan-Ségur, St-Estèphe ($49.99)

2005 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac ($199.99)