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Why We Are The Best For Your Palate and Your Wallet



CONNOISSEURS' GUIDE to CALIFORNIA WINE, acclaimed by the Los Angeles Times as the "oldest, most prestigious reviewer of California wines", shows you the wines to buy and helps you avoid the wines not worth your money. We pull no punches in our detailed, hard-hitting reviews and tell you about every wine's availability, aging potential and the foods that go perfectly with it.


Every monthly issue of The GUIDE brings you hundreds of detailed, exacting reviews. We started CONNOISSEURS' GUIDE three decades ago with one goal in mind-to write accurately, insightfully and authoritatively about California and West Coast wine.



CONNOISSEURS' GUIDE enjoys a national reputation for its objectivity, expertise and integrity. We review wines in rigorous blind tastings at our own tasting table. We buy the wines we taste from independent retailers here in the San Francisco area rather than focusing on wines the producers provide. It is more expensive to do it that way, but it guarantees that what you read is what you get when you pull the cork on a wine reviewed by the GUIDE.



The GUIDE gives you the results of every blind-tasted wine, not just the chosen favorites. You will learn precisely why we get excited or bored, turned on or turned off by every wine we taste. And we absolutely avoid the highly questionable practice of reviewing wines tasted at the wineries with the labels showing and the winemaker and owner at our elbows.



In addition to the wine reviews that lie at the heart of every timely, monthly issue, the GUIDE goes behind the scenes to show you why the wines turn out the way they do, to provide continuing guidance about how wines have aged and to examine how California and Pacific Northwest wines stack up against their peers from around the world.


Our COLLECTORS' CORNER tastings of older wines that have been carefully aged in our own cellars and our CALIFORNIA vs. THE WORLD sections bring you broad-ranging and incredibly informative coverage. Every monthly issue alerts you to GOOD VALUES, and our BEST BUYS IN THE MARKET column calls your attention to wines that are simply too good to pass up.



The GUIDE is written by Publisher/Editor Charles Olken in collaboration with Associate Editor Stephen Eliot. Mr. Olken co-founded CONNOISSEURS' GUIDE in 1974 to focus specifically on our emerging region because no one was then serving the needs of California wine consumers and collectors like himself. Mr. Olken is also co-author of the CONNOISSEURS' HANDBOOK of CALIFORNIA WINES, a wine columnist in newspapers in California and a frequent judge at international wine competitions. Stephen Eliot also serves the Senior Wine Instructor at the California Culinary Academy.



When it comes to California wine, Connoisseurs' Guide leads the way. No other publication has been more widely praised and supported than the Guide. We live here. We know the wine country backwards and forwards, and we are in the vineyards and wineries every week-not a couple of times a year. We cover California wine comprehensively and authoritatively. Perhaps that is why so many people have called us "the best for the West".

"Connoisseurs Guide has no peer when it comes to covering the complex California wine scene."-San Francisco Chronicle


"No one does a better job with California wine than Connoisseurs' Guide."-Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate


"The best written wine publication in the United States."-Linda Murphy, Decanter Magazine


 "When it comes to California wine, I rely on Connoisseurs' Guide."-Peter Morrell, Morrell and Sons Wine Merchants, New York City


"The fairest, most rigorous wine evaluation process I have ever seen."-Kent Rosenblum, Rosenblum Cellars



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Inside the Current Issue

The roster of fine, high-quality West Coast wines does not stop with Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay by any means, and varieties that more often quietly wait in the wings get their chance to move to center stage in this month's issue.

Riesling's devotees may be fewer in number than the legions of fans commanded by other, more popular varieties, but they are an especially loyal and vocal bunch, and, as our latest look at Riesling once again attests, there are very good reasons why they should be heard.

No more than one or two exposures to good Gewürztraminer will usually win it new admirers as it is an altogether uniquely singular wine that is as aromatically inviting as they come.

Chenin Blanc's heyday in California may admittedly lie in the past, but very fine bottlings still can be found, and it is not a big reach to argue that the very best are better than ever.

Pinot Gris, whether going by its French or Italian name, is one of the hottest tickets in town, and there is an abundance of very affordable, well-made examples to be had. Some are meant for simple quaffing and others aim for a bit more seriousness.

Great and even very good wines can achieve remarkable beauty with time, and, though most Pinot Noir may not have the stuff to warrant decades of waiting, they can, with patience, accrue extra interest and hold up as well or better than many might think.

Malbec has gotten new attention in recent years, owing in some part to the efforts of Argentina, and it appears that California's vintners are making significant contributions to its rising reputation with some remarkably good, home-grown examples.

The jury is out as to whether or not Petit Verdot will ever occupy more than a small niche in California's portfolio of serious red wines, but there are a handful of wineries that see promise in its ability to produce substantial, solidly built wines with real aging potential.

Barbera is not new to California, but we cannot recall a time when so many producers were looking at it with so serious an eye, and those, in particular, who are working with Barbera grown in the Sierra Foothills are making good on its promise of producing memorable wines.

Good Cabernet Sauvignon rarely comes cheap, but that does not mean that tasty examples are always prohibitively expensive, and the September installment of Best Buys testifies to that fact. Fine buys in Sauvignon Blanc are also featured, as are four, high-achieving, multiple-star-rated Syrahs that are priced for drinking without breaking the monthly budget.