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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2010 Torbreck "The Steading" Grenache-Shiraz-Mataro Barossa Valley
Review Date: 3-16-2015
This is a very interesting, complex and tasty blend. The old vine fruit is deep and sweet, but not fruity. Round in the mouth and nicely developed with flavors of kirsch and cassis, interacting with hints of black licorice, smoke and earth all leading to a strong Grenache finish. Like it, and good to go now!

2010 Ostler "Caroline's" Pinot Noir Waitaki Valley North Otago
Review Date: 11-14-2014
A lovely, expressive nose with a nice hint of development. A stylish and elegant Pinot drinking beautifully right now!

2005 Valandraud, St-Emilion
Review Date: 11-6-2014
A great vintage of Valandraud at this price; I am all in! As always, this wine exhibits deep, saturated purple fruit, sweet blackberry fruit on nose with toasty oak. On the palate exotic flavors of chocolate and blackcherry lead to a dry finish. This wine features the hallmark qualities of the outstanding 2005 vintage; purity of fruit, with great acidity and fantastic freshness! Ralph Sands
Drink from 2015 to 2025

2013 Domaine Renaud Mâcon-Charnay
Review Date: 9-5-2014
The Renaud Macons have been a staple at my home for weekday enjoyment for quite a few years now. The Charnay is always a bit more forward and rounder while the Solutre shows more rocky minerality. I also love the old vine Pouilly-Fuisse and have served it to many of my friends and relatives at more serious dinner parties. The Renaud wines always show great freshness, laser-beam focus and drive. Great values!
Top Value!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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.

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 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 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.

2013 Rauzan-Ségla, Margaux Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-8-2014
Amazing consistency and what a classy perfectly balanced wine from front to finish. Lovely.**

2011 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 5-2-2014
Sweet raspberries and black fruits, very floral, with herbal notes and earth all pulled together by round, firm tannins and a very long finish. Tasted twice. I'm 56 years old and Cantemerle is now my #1 favorite château, and I seriously doubt that will ever change. The reason is simple: great, complex wine, consistent quality and a fair price. A winner every time! **

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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)

1999 Lynch-Bages, Pauillac ($169.99)

2003 Lynch-Bages, Pauillac (stained labels) ($174.99)

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

2005 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac ($199.99)