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

Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay may be the names writ largest in the minds of most fans of California wines, but they are far from being the only varieties that can provide great satisfaction, and this month we take time to survey recently resurgent Syrah and Merlot as well as a collection of delectable expatriates hailing from Italy and Spain, all of which help make California's vinous melting pot so endlessly fascinating.

Syrah is very justifiably regarded as one of the truly great, red-wine grapes of the world, and while we have been ardent believers of its future in California since its earliest days, local Syrahs are reaching new heights with every vintage.

Merlot is often seen as a softer, more convivial version of Cabernet Sauvignon, but it is a fine variety with a voice of its own that can yield both deep and complex, very ageworthy wines as well as affable and affordable efforts that do not require lengthy cellaring.

Good California Barbera is nothing new, but what is new is that there are so many well-made examples now available, and the current lot counts more than a few tasty efforts that will pair nicely with dishes ranging from barbecued fare to sundry weeknight pastas.

Renowned as the grape of Chianti and Brunello in Tuscany, Sangiovese has its very capable advocates here at home that are making noteworthy wines with a uniquely Californian accent.

An Italian white variety responsible for bright and lively whites in Sardinia and Liguria where it goes by the name of Pigato, Vermentino has developed a tiny cadre of true-believing vintners hereabouts whose efforts are well worth acquaintance.

Over the last decade or so, Tempranillo has attracted increasing attention in California as well it should, for, when grown in the right place and carefully made, it demonstrates why it is widely praised as the great red variety of Spain.

Yet another Spanish transplant, Albariño is stealthily finding a place in California and the Northwest, and it is a welcome addition to the roster of refreshing white wines that have a special affinity to the fresh seafoods that abound here on the Pacific Coast.

Riesling accounts for an exceptional number of out-and-out bargains in white wines running from bone dry versions to unctuously sweet, and, in advance of next month's issue that features new Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, we include a few recent favorites of each that hit the mark for fine value as smartly as that mark can be hit.