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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 spotlight in March shines brightly on local wines made from the red varieties of the Rhône, and it is clear that Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre are quietly continuing their steady rise to real legitimacy in California. Petite Sirah is featured as well and is showing that the new wave of consumer interest is well-founded, and, in a decided change of pace, we also take a moment to check in on the stylish Pinot Noirs of Oregon.

California Syrah may have had its ups and down in the market, but devotees of the grape know just how good the local version can be, and this month's report affirms our belief that the best can stand with the finest bottlings being produced anywhere in the world.

Grenache has been getting an increasingly serious look from more than a few west coast vintners, and, while not about to challenge the likes of Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir in popularity, its enthusiastic fans are growing in number with very good reason.

Widely grown in the warmer climes of Spain and southern France, Mourvèdre is quietly making inroads hereabouts both as a savory, stand-alone variety as well as in its traditional role as a component in hearty red blends.

There are few red wines that will match Petite Sirah when it comes to out-and-out swagger, but, despite its propensity for making decidedly tannic wines, it is showing a new face of late as its makers have learned to tame its wilder ways.

There are few places in the world that have proven hospitable homes to fine Pinot Noir, and Oregon ranks high on the very short list of those that are.

Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay share the Best Buy marquee this month as we highlight some memorable, not-to-be-missed values discovered in our recent tastings.