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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 turning of the year is a time for reflection as well as one in which optimism about what is to come always runs high, and, after a year that was as successful for California wines across the board as any we can recall, 2017 appears to be starting out on a most positive note. In addition to our report on exciting new releases of Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, we also offer our thoughts on what 2016 has meant and pause to honor the past year's very best wines as well as naming our annual "Winery of the Year."

Zinfandels from many of the variety's most capable, well-known makers are featured in January, but there are some eye-opening surprises from less-familiar names as well. Zin's fervent fans will find lots to like in our latest look at their favorite grape, and new pleasures aplenty await those who are not yet versed in the ways of good Zinfandel.

Routinely overlooked in fine-wine discussions, Sauvignon Blanc can be far more than a lively, food-friendly refresher, and, led by such names as Dragonette, Grgich Hills and Joseph Phelps, this month's collection demonstrates just how good it can be.

Wine lovers seem unable to get enough good Chardonnay, and, in all truth, neither can we. Our brief survey of newly arrived offerings once again confirms that there are reasons why it remains the state's most popular white wine.

To say that 2016 was a good year for California wines is an understatement, and, while we anticipate great things in 2017, we look back over the last twelve months with great satisfaction. There were many high points, and Charles and Stephen take a moment to acknowledge those wines that were the most memorable of all.

There is no need to forego good wine even if budgets have been a bit bruised by holiday spending, and the month's Best Buy picks in Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Riesling are sure to start the new year out right.