User ID:

Remember me
Lost password?

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



See Expert Comments


Inside the Current Issue

We are being visited with the return of the "food war snit" of the early 1980s, and it is not enough for some folks to like a light hand in their wines. In the misnamed "Pursuit of Balance", they have declared war of the larger body of California wines as corpulent, silly and tragic caricatures of themselves. It would all be funny if it were not déjà vu all over again. The wines in this Issue are caught in the middle. Fortunately, there are wines of all styles and enough to go around for all tastes.

This latest round probably started decades ago with the "Anything But Chardonnay" crowd. For some reason, perhaps because the California style of Chardonnay is not much like that of France, there were tasters who simply vowed not to drink the local Chardonnay. Funny thing is, with our diverse climate, there are plenty of tight, acid-driven wines to go around.

The high ripeness of most Syrahs and the fact that there is simply not as much hidden, nuanced beauty to the grape has slowed what looked like a rush to supplant Merlot back just a decade and change ago. Syrah plantings have continued to grow, and a deep, rich Syrah can be a wonderful choice for some meals, which explains the continuing following for that style.

No longer only a sweet gulper, Rosé has seen makers of coastal table wines come rushing in with drier versions intended for serious drinking with serious foods. Gulp or sip? Horses of a different feather, but both worth pursuing.

The rise in popularity of Spanish wine has brought about renewed interest in this variety which has lived here for decades under the name Valdepeñas. It is now a work in progress, and we chart its course in this Issue.

Late-arriving Pinots from Testarossa and Kosta Browne, made by the dozen, in their own version of culture clash, are included in this Issue because the wines are too good to miss, and bottlings of their quality will not stay around long.

Fill your checkout cart with wines that offer lots to like at affordable prices when you do your research in Best Buys.