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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

New Chardonnays get top billing in May, and we are reminded that forty years ago this month the local version garnered top honors in the now-legendary "Judgment of Paris" and alerted the world that something special was going on in California vineyards. Back then, Zinfandel was not on the global radar and received little attention outside of its west coast home, but it has steadily gained impassioned adherents over the years and, as this issue's featured wines confirm, the top Zinfandel bottlings are world-class wines in every respect. We also take a quick look at recent Barbera releases and are increasingly impressed by the quality exhibited by the growing number of well-made offerings.

2014 looks to be the third consecutive outstanding vintage in California, and, while we will have to wait to see just how good the Cabernet Sauvignons and Pinot Noirs will be, the first wave of serious 2014 Chardonnays suggests that winemaker enthusiasm has not been misplaced.

Zinfandel has a following of particularly passionate fans, and we think there should be more. The too-many, excessively alcoholic, over-the-top renditions have happily been on the decline as of late, and deeply satisfying versions abound. The top bottlings reviewed in this issue deserve the attention of red wine lovers of every stripe.

Its naturally high acidity earns good Barbera a place at our table with all sorts of tomatoey pastas and barbecued fare, and, with the recent discovery of more than a few tasty examples, we rather expect that it will be making a regular appearance when the menu is right.

It may be true that Cabernet Sauvignon commands top-dollar in the market, but it does not necessarily need to break the budget. Our Best Buy roster for May includes enjoyable efforts priced for regular drinking as well as noteworthy values in Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.