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Staff Favorites - Ralph Sands
Ralph Sands | Send Email | Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
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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2011 Pape Clément, Pessac-Léognan Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-17-2012
Very deep and full of grapey fruit, plus hints of clove and earth. Very pure and very good. Tasted twice. **
2006 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 10-4-2011
*1/2 Wow! Very special wine made here in 2006, surely the best in modern times. Spicy ripe fruit with fine middle richness, sweetness and mouthfeel. Alex Brisoux: Sweet, spicy red fruit, cocao/tobacco undertone, good structure, elegant long finish, the best young Cantemerle I've ever tasted. And on 01/23/09: As good as it gets for the price. Rich and full, lingering finish.
2003 Verdignan Rouge, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 8-31-2011
This wine literally flew out the door when we last had it in stock. Ripe and expansive on the nose and palate, with a good fat middle and a long mineral-driven finish. A big hit in my neighborhood!
2006 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 6-13-2009
At our tasting bar last month, the topic of the powerful Ch. Léoville-Barton, the great second growth from St-Julien, was in the air even though the wine wasn’t being poured. Many agreed it was one of, if not the, most popular Bordeaux at K&L. Last month we poured their second wine, the 2006 Reserve de Léoville ($29.99) and the grand vin, the 2006 Léoville-Barton ($69.99). Both wines exhibited the classic qualities of the 2006 vintage in general—lots of brisk, high-toned fruit with zesty acidity and firm tannins. The ’06s offer great freshness and most will turn out to be classic clarets, and the 2006 Bartons are, without a doubt, the very best examples of this vintage, as the wines just have flat out more dark purple fruit and depth than almost any other wine. People adore them. I overheard comments like, “these wines are both great,” and, “this is why I buy this wine every year!” The grand vin ages until at least its 15th birthday; I drink the best vintages at 15- to 30-years-old.
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