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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2015 de Chantegrive Rouge, Graves
Review Date: 04-25-2018
A great value as well as an outstanding example of the fine 2015 vintage that will arrive all year long here at K&L. Firm, fresh fruit with hints of cherries and chocolate, serious and tasty little wine for under $20.Ralph Sands
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JS 92 JD 91

2015 Domaine Thomas Morey Bourgogne Blanc
Review Date: 02-14-2018
Absolutely fantastic quality for the price from the great vintage of 2015. Lovely, fresh aromas of ripe Chardonnay with hints of green apple all in perfect balance. It exhibits fine middle fruit richness and texture reminiscent of far more expensive White burgundies. If you love expensive white Burgundy, this is a great weekday white Burg; if you are not sure if you like good white Burgundy here is a chance to taste a beauty and only for $20.00 ! My highest recommendation. Ralph Sands
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-23-2017
This is absolutely incredible Champagne for the money! Deeply flavored, intense and powerful it is in the style of Bollinger and Krug at nowhere near the price and I love that!
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

2015 Capbern, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 12-05-2017
Within seconds of tasting Ch. Capbern at Calon Segur on April 2nd 2016 the entire K&L team was in full agreement to buy all we could get our hands on! This is a wine of great freshness and fruit, and will be joy to drink young. A Fantastic Value! Ralph Sands

2014 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 09-01-2017
Textbook Dom de Chev! Pure, upfront fruit red fruit with hints of minerals and earth, elegant and as usual perfectly balanced. Lovely wine. Tasted 4-3-15 and again last week in San Francisco 2 Stars from Ralph.

2016 Malescot-St-Exupéry, Margaux 12-pack in OWC
Review Date: 08-05-2017
Noon at Ch. Malescot. One wine to taste with Jean Luc Zugar. 55% CS, 37% M, 6% C,F 2% PV. The 2015 was a 3 Star beauty and the 2016 is again a fabulous 3 Star wine. Perfectly extracted ripe grapes and great tasting, fine blance, tannins and long finishing. 3 Stars and also by FAR the greatest value for great Margaux wine.

2016 Malescot-St-Exupéry, Margaux (1.5L)
Review Date: 08-05-2017
Noon at Ch. Malescot. One wine to taste with Jean Luc Zugar. 55% CS, 37% M, 6% C,F 2% PV. The 2015 was a 3 Star beauty and the 2016 is again a fabulous 3 Star wine. Perfectly extracted ripe grapes and great tasting, fine blance, tannins and long finishing. 3 Stars and also by FAR the greatest value for great Margaux wine.

2012 Pauillac de Latour, Pauillac
Review Date: 06-16-2017
The 2012 Pauillac de Latour exhibits the sweet, forward fruit that is the hallmark character of the extremely underrated vintage. Nice and round with no hard tannins so it can enjoyed young with an hour decanting. Very tasty for young Latour! Ralph Sands
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
JS 90
Limit of 24 per customer

2016 l'Evangile, Pomerol
Review Date: 06-10-2017
2016 L' Evangile is just loaded with big, sweet dark fruit with great purity. Silky smooth texture on the palate with a super-long finish! This is fabulous wine and right there with Petrus, which is a bit firmer. 3 stars!

2016 Phélan-Ségur, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 05-31-2017
2016 Ch. Phelan Segur- Tasted twice and delicious both times. Phelan is a lovely early drinking 2016 which is always its forte. Beautifully fresh wine with elegant sweet fruit, perfectly balanced. Great value, 1 Star. Ralph Sands

2016 Malescot-St-Exupéry, Margaux
Review Date: 05-31-2017
Noon at Ch. Malescot One wine to taste with Jean Luc Zugar. 55%CS 37M 6CF 2PV “The 2015 was a 3 Star beauty and the 2016 is again a fabulous 3 Star wine. Perfectly extracted ripe grapes and great tasting, fine blance, tannins and long finishing. 3 Stars and also by FAR the greatest value for great Margaux wine.”

2016 Latour-Martillac Blanc, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-24-2017
Ch. Latour-Martillac ...Tasted twice and impressive both times. “Good, deep, broad, old vine fruit from front to back. Great texture, rounded tannins and long finish. The best wine I have ever had from L-M, surpasses the impressive 2000! 2 Stars! I really love it, and when you look at the prices of the finest wines from this area like Smith and Haut Bailly, this wine offers phenomenal value for the money!

2016 Lynch-Bages, Pauillac
Review Date: 05-24-2017
2016 Lynch Bages 75 CS 19M 4CF “Sweet ripe red and black fruit, raspberry, cassis with glossy oak. Great freshness as well as concentration, a classic strong claret with great fruit. Jean Michel compares it to his legendary 1989; my first vintage in Bordeaux (killer wine says CB), a 3 Star wine and vintage! Ralph Sands

2016 Angélus, St-Emilion
Review Date: 05-23-2017
”Pure nose of deep, old vine Merlot, strong sweetness and structure, deep raspberry fruit, powerful and lush with great concentration and persistence throughout the long finish. Great, great, wine! 3 Stars." Ralph Sands

2016 Croix de Beaucaillou, St-Julien
Review Date: 05-23-2017
Criox de Beaucaillou has great freshness on the nose, high toned silky textured fruit all in perfect balance. This is a WOW 2nd wine and I will be a buyer! 2 Stars. Believe me it is very hard to find a better tasting wine than Les Croix!

2016 Langoa-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 05-23-2017
Ch. Langoa Barton…$49.99 Mags $99.99 Langoa Barton has beautifully fresh, spicy raspberry fruit, nice texture, very pretty with all parts perfectly balanced. 2 Stars! Ralph

2016 Marquis d'Alesme, Margaux
Review Date: 05-18-2017
2016 Marquis d’Alseme is 70% CS, 30% M, 10% PV. Framed by a super bright, effusive nose of sweet blackberry and blueberry that floats briskly across the palate, this is firm, pure and fresh, linear and so attractive! 2 Stars for the first time!

2016 d'Aiguilhe, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 05-17-2017
If you love rich, exotic Merlot and don't want to wait, d'Aiguilhe is your wine, as it is one of Bordeaux's great Right Bankers to drink young. The 2016 is loaded with sweet round fruit and soft textured. Really delicious wine that reminds me of the fantastic 2005. 1.5 Stars

2016 Clos du Marquis, St-Julien
Review Date: 05-17-2017
Clos du Marquis was the 2nd wine of Las Cases for 105 years and this single parcel across the D-2 is now bottled on its own. I have collected this great wine since the 1989 vintage as it is always very close in quality to Las Cases. Impressive levels of silky red fruit, freshness and strike, good acid and power. 2 Stars! Outstanding and outstanding value.

2016 Poujeaux, Moulis
Review Date: 05-17-2017
Another 2 Star/Outstanding wine from Ch. Poujeaux! Great nose! Strong, deep, round fruit that displays both the strength of the Cabernet and the great fruit of the Merlot. Great silky texture on the palate and a long strong finish. Serious wine that I will buy again for my collection. Among the greatest buys in all of Bordeaux wine in 2016 that include Cantemerle, Ormes de Pez, Meyney, Goulee and Maucaillou. Ralph Sands

2016 Pape Clément, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-16-2017
Love it! 2 stars for now and possibly 3 for Pape Clement Rouge (Very impressive all 3 times tasted. Layers of dark grapey fruit all in good focus and with nice freshness, fine tannins,lenght and great taste!).

2016 Labégorce, Margaux
Review Date: 05-03-2017
There is absolutely no doubt that the dynamic ownership of Natalie Perrodo and her team of winemaker Marjolaine de Coninck and director Delphine Kolosa have turned Ch. Labegorce and sister estate Ch. Marquis d'Alesme into the hottest values in all of Margaux wine. We tasted this wine 3 times and showed great each time. 2016 Ch. Labegorce is 52% Merlot 38CS 6CF 4PV a big wine with deep juicy fruit with nice richness, good zesty mineral finish. Super Value, 1 Star.

2016 Capbern, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 05-03-2017
Ch. Capbern is 90%CS Pretty intense, lovely deep red fruit, nice fresh and firm claret. Very nice baby Calon, Superb value. 1 Star.

2016 Cos d'Estournel, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 04-25-2017
2016 Cos d'Estournel is a great wine! Loaded with exotic black fruits, powerful but in perfect focus. Lovely middle fruit texture and style, super long finishing wine. Better than Mouton and Lafite! 3 Star Wine and candidate for wine of the vintage.

2014 Tapiz "Alta Collection" Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza
Review Date: 04-14-2017
Mr. Suckling's note is right on the money, but I think the wine drinks beautifully right now with just a bit of air. Very tasty!

2000 Sarget de Gruaud-Larose, St-Julien
Review Date: 07-08-2016
Finding perfectly stored older Bordeaux at a decent price from a good producer is extremely tough and one of the reasons we deal with so many different negociants in Bordeaux. The 1999 vintage was not one of power and concentration like 2000, it was far softer and easier to drink with nice soft-ripe fruit. My notes reflect exactly that as I told Clyde on the way home on the plane from the 1999 evaluation..."I don't think I have ever written down, tastes good so many times for young wines". The second wine of Gruaud Larose from 1999 is drinking beautifully now showing soft, warm, developed herbal fruit flavors with hints of earth and leather. The 2000 is a few years away from the perfect drinking window and is a much tighter, stronger and fresher expression with some nice red current fruit underneath the wood. Both wines are a steal for mature Bordeaux.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

2015 Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 06-03-2016
Smith Haut Lafitte- 63%CS 33M Round and broad with loads of grapey ripe-sweet fruit that coat the entire mouth with hints of licorice and spice. Long finishing and very tasty. Another delicious SHL! 2 Stars!

2015 Malartic-Lagravière, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 06-03-2016
Malartic Lagraviere- Absolutely pure sweet red fruit, a wine of freshness and elegance. Not a hint of heaviness, perfect balance and focus. 2 Stars!

2015 Canon-la-Gaffelière, St-Émilion
Review Date: 06-02-2016
Canon La Gaffiliere- 55%M 40CF 5% CS This is a strong CLG with elegance!. Penetrating red fruit, very precise and focused with firm structure. Needs at least 10 years. 2 Stars!

2015 Canon, St-Émilion
Review Date: 05-31-2016
Canon- 72%M 28CF You have to go all the way back to 1982 to find a Ch. Canon that rivals this wine. In 2015 Canon takes its place alongside VCC, and La Consiellante as the greatest wines of elegance in 2015. Beautiful red fruit with spice, rich middle fruit in perfect harmony and a super clean dry finish. This is a complete wine with great freshness, perfect extraction and by no means sweet. This is a great dry wine, without huge opulent fruit that is all the rage theses days, it is all about perfect balance; a mirror image of the legendary 1982. 3 Stars

2015 Palmer, Margaux
Review Date: 05-31-2016
Palmer- 50%CS 44M 6PV One of the most important elements of Bordeaux greatest wines is longevity. The 2nd wine of Palmer is so delicious young it’s amazing; the first wine has all the great fruit but is much more powerful. Strong attack of spicy black-red grapes yields to a deep long wine with masculine tannins. Super serious, classy and regal. 3 Stars

2015 Cheval Blanc, St-Émilion
Review Date: 05-20-2016
Cheval Blanc- 45%CF 55M Elegant, pure red fruit, just superb! Not a hint of over extraction or heaviness; a wine in perfect balance and long finishing. Just delicious! Perfect wine??? Just might be! 3 Stars

2015 Pétrus, Pomerol
Review Date: 05-20-2016
Petrus- Fantastic, effusive aromas of bright red fruits jump out of the glass! Petrus has great purity of fruit followed by good solid tannins with no hard edges. Not heavy in any way, fine freshness and great natural acidity. I wrote down that some great wines are soft and plush, some are powerful and strong, some are a combination of all the great elements; like this one! 3 Stars

2015 Angélus, St-Emilion
Review Date: 05-20-2016
Angelus- This wine shows you exactly why Angelus was elevated to Premier Grand Cru Classe A. This is a great wine that is just loaded with deep, round exotic fruit that screams of raspberries! A big wine with lovely rounded tannins you can barely feel! While the wine is big it features great freshness from the superb Cabernet Franc in 2015 and the exquisite balance that will insure a long life. 3 Stars!

2015 Croix de Beaucaillou, St-Julien
Review Date: 05-20-2016
Le Croix de Beaucaillou- The first wine, Ducru Beaucaillou may well be the wine of the vintage and the second wine Le Criox shows you exactly why as it is also fantastic wine! Sleek, racy wine with plenty of black fruits and cassis that explode in the mid palate, it possesses wonderful sweet tannins and texture throughout the finish. Impressive and delicious! For the first time for me…2 Stars!

2015 Giscours, Margaux
Review Date: 05-20-2016
Giscours- 60% CS 32M 5CF 3PV The two estates under the direction of Alexander Van Beek continue to improve and have really hit the sweet spot in 2015. Giscours is one of the strongest wines in terms of power and aging potential while still keeping its Margaux elegance. The strong, sweet, and deep masculine fruit is pretty flashy and has nice plush middle fruit texture that is not always present in this wine. Serious wine, along the same lines as Ch. Palmer and my guess is that it will $200 less money per bottle. No question, one of Bordeaux greatest values! 2 Stars

2015 Branaire-Ducru, St-Julien
Review Date: 05-20-2016
Branaire Ducru- 65% CS 26M Some estates in Bordeaux fit the style of the vintage better than others and in the case of 2015 Branaire fits like a glove. Branaire is always first and foremost about elegance and great taste, and owner Patrick Maroteaux had a big smile on his face when he said that elegance is the calling card of 2015 and I wholeheartedly agree. I tasted it 3 times, with almost exact notes. Beautiful, sweet red fruits of cherry and cranberry, lovely balance, drive and elegance. The whole package and I love it! 2 Stars!

2015 Langoa-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 05-20-2016
Langoa Barton- Beautiful, fresh red fruits on the nose and on the palate. This crisp claret styled Langoa is one of the best I’ve ever tasted! 2 Stars

2015 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 05-20-2016
Leoville Barton- 86% Cabernet 14M Very strong and linear Cabernet fruit for Leoville Barton on display here. Good freshness and purity and feels like lower alcohol. Good wine and an elegant Leoville Barton. 2 Stars

2015 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac
Review Date: 05-20-2016
Pontet Canet- The lively bright purple fruit is so very pure and tasty! Lots of blueberry and black currant fruit with great freshness and delicious taste. Nice elegance, no hard tannins, perfect extraction. Claret style; which means crisp and fresh! 2 Stars

2015 Valandraud, St-Émilion
Review Date: 05-13-2016
Valendraud- Wow! Super ripe, exotic, big juice with very impressive tannins under control. 2 Stars! Ralph Sands

2015 Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac
Review Date: 05-13-2016
Pichon Comtesse de Lalande- 68CS 29M 2CF 1PV…A far deeper expression here of attractive, elegant blackberry fruit, complex aromas of roses-violets, orange rind and citrus which is always a nice touch. The Comtesse is truly back on top of its game! 2 Stars Ralph Sands

2015 Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-13-2016
Haut Bailly- Classic claret! Strong dark fruit with great drive, followed by great freshness and elegance without a hint of over ripeness. 2 Stars! Ralph Sands

2015 d'Armailhac, Pauillac
Review Date: 05-13-2016
D’Armaillac- Lovely fruit of lively raspberry, very pure, delicious wine with great freshness and energy! I really like it. 1.5 Stars Ralph Sands

2015 Clerc-Milon, Pauillac
Review Date: 05-13-2016
Clerc Milon- Big wine, very dark and deep, closed up Cabernet with good grip. Definitely in the style of Mouton and will require 10 year in the cellar. 1.5 Stars...Ralph Sands

2015 Barde-Haut, St-Emilion
Review Date: 05-13-2016
Barde Haut- Great nose, dark red fruit with some toasty oak and dark chocolate tones. Very Nice! 1 Star

2015 Pape Clément, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-11-2016
Pape Clement- 56%CS 40M 4CF- As always this wine has very deep, sweet , black- red fruit with an exotic touch and lots of oak. The key here is that the fruit is very pure, the wine is perfectly balanced and the finish goes on and on. Clearly one of the stars of the vintage! 2 Stars from me!

2015 La Tour de Mons, Margaux
Review Date: 05-11-2016
La Tour de Mons- 47%CS 56M 6PV The Margaux appellation excelled in 2015 and when this estate gets it right as they did in 2005, 2009, 2010 and again here in 2015 it is truly a textbook Margaux and an amazing value. Bright, elegant, red-blue fruit all in absolutely perfect balance float across the palate as a great wine from Margaux should. This will be a delicious young drink! 2 Stars for Value!

2015 Alter Ego de Palmer, Margaux
Review Date: 05-11-2016
Alter Ego de Palmer- This wine has just killed me in the last few years; I just love it! 52% M 42%CS 6% PV. This wine just may be the best tasting wine in Bordeaux over the last 10 years running. The old vine Merlot here at Palmer makes a spectacular wine with such delicious sweet fruit it is hard to believe it does not go into the first wine. Rich, black-red fruits with a little grip; so tasty, attractive and regal! The only problem with Alter Ego is that it tastes so good it’s hard to stay away from and not drink it all young! 2 stars from me.

2015 Malescot-St-Exupéry, Margaux
Review Date: 05-11-2016
Malescot Saint Exupery- I am 100% agreement with K&L Vice President Trey Beffa when he says that Malescot is a candidate for Wine of the Vintage! 70% CS Tasted twice and outstanding both times, at the Chateaux… Deep, silky and sexy! Loaded with fruit… Cherries-Kirsch and Cassis! More accessible than Palmer, sweeter, rounder fruit than Ch. Margaux, just outstanding! 3 Stars! At the Joanne tasting of 170 wines…sweet, round and lovely! 3 Stars again. Bravo to my golf partner and owner Jean Luc Zuger who gets 3 Stars for making a great wine and for having the sense to price the wine where wine lovers can afford to drink it!

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2005 Pichon-Baron, Pauillac ($189.99)