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.


Reviews

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2012 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-3-2013
** Established in 1725! There is just no stopping the fantastic roll of quality here! The perfectly ripe blueberry and blackberry fruit is focused and is amazingly fresh. Firm but round tannins and new oak is the framework for this great tasting PC that is accessible and invigorating. Hats off to Alfred Tesseron for giving the world good reason to be excited about buying the best wines made in 2012 as he drops his price to 1/3 the price of his 2009 and 2010 now in the marketplace.
Top Value!

2012 Troplong Mondot, St-Emilion Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-3-2013
** This has been one of the Right Banks finest wines for a long time, but was just elevated to one of the 14 Premier Grand Cru Class B estates last year. Vineyards were planted here before the Chateau was built in 1745. An absolute success! The wine is very ripe but not over extracted, it is soft with silky smooth red fruits and round tannins. This is a tasty wine that people will love and give great pleasure young. 2012 at its best, and a great value at a reduced price from 2011 even though the 2012 is a much better wine!

Canard-Duchêne "Authentic" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 3-27-2013
Lovely Chamapagne! Super clean and elegant with a very nice dry finish; a real crowd pleaser and fine value.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Guiraud, Sauternes
Review Date: 2-12-2013
Always big and full of fat, honeyed fruit.

2009 Reserve de la Comtesse Lalande, Pauillac
Review Date: 2-5-2013
A cedary nose... tight and dusty; it will need time.

2009 Malartic-Lagravière, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 10-29-2012
Fresh, bright, natural mouthfeel. Tasty. I loved it!

2011 Léoville-Poyferré, St-Julien Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-17-2012
As usual the great vineyard of Léoville produced three superb wines, and all could be considered for wine of the vintage. Barton and Las Cases show the power, and Poyferré shows the “silky side” of this great vineyard. All demonstrate rich layers of fruit and complexity that most wines in 2011 just do not have. The Poyferré's fruit is blood red and silky. Good weight. A terrific wine. **

2011 Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac-Léognan Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-17-2012
Round, sweet and pure red fruits, fine overall balance. A nice, elegant wine. *

2011 Smith-Haut-Lafitte Rouge, Pessac-Léognan Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-17-2012
A very attractive, freshly-styled and bright Smith. Attractive across the board. *

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 Coufran, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 8-31-2011
This has the same profile of deep black/blue fruits as the 2005, but with a hint of black olive. The heat of the 2003 vintages sets it apart and gives the wine much more open, forward middle fruit, texture and opulence. It drinks well now, but is still young. Decant two hours if you want to drink it now.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2000 Coufran, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 6-13-2009
Tasting good now at 11 years old, this still enjoys much of the youthful vigor derived from this great and powerful vintage. Stick a few away for another five to 10 years. Decant between two and four hours if you want to drink it now.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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More Favorites

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 Lynch-Bages, Pauillac ($229.99)

2003 Lynch-Bages, Pauillac ($174.99)

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

2005 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac ($199.99)