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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

Zinfandel has a particularly loyal following and there are good reasons why. When well-made, it is a wonderfully rich companion to commensurably rich foods and shines with the grilled and barbecued fare that are central to summer dining. It gets the spotlight in July and shares the marquee with a bounty of white wines made from Rhône varieties and thirst-quenching Rosés

As its longtime devotees are well aware, good, very serious, genuinely collectible Zinfandels is not a new phenomenon, but Zin seems to get more and more, long-overdue respect with each vintage, and we are happy to report that it is roundly deserved.

When it comes to expressive white wines that are long on fruity richness, intensely fragrant Viognier ranks among our favorites, and our once-a-year look at new offerings counts many remarkably good, deeply satisfying renditions.

Each year there seems to be a few more Grenache Blanc bottlings, and, if the variety is generating a bit of new interest among winemakers, it still is a grape whose future fortunes are unclear. We do agree, however, with those who think it is worth watching.

A very small amount of Roussanne is being grown in California, and most of it that is finds its way into various white Rhône blends where it contributes heady, aromatic richness.

If, among California white varieties, Roussanne accounts for but a miniscule drop in the bucket, Marsanne is more uncommon yet, and, though upon rare occasion found varietally labeled, most of the wine it makes also winds up in blends.

Pinks made from Rhône varieties as well as those comprised principally of Zinfandel are featured this month in our latest look at new Rosés well timed for summer sipping.

Contrary to what too often seems the case, there are more than a few very well-made Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignons that are not painfully priced, and they are joined in this month's roster of Best Buys by Sauvignon Blancs that again remind that it is a variety that can be consistently relied upon for very fine value.