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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

It is no news to those who follow fine wine production here on the West Coast (and in the classic districts of Europe for the matter) that recent times have been challenging for those whose profession is the making of fine wine, and 2022 is presenting pointed challenges of its own. 

Riesling may not have the kind of broad-market following of Chardonnay and likely never will. But it is regarded as one of the world's greatest, most noble white varieties of them all. There are good reasons why.

Chenin Blanc occupies but a small niche in California, and there is far less of it grown than there once was, yet, in the capable hands of its best producers, it yields thought-provoking wines of real appeal.

The Lang & Reed Wine Company has carved out a place as one of Chenin Blanc's most accomplished makers, and, in this issue, we take the opportunity to review all of the bottlings that the winery has made starting with the first from the 2013 vintage.

Hard to pronounce, but easy to like, Gewürztraminer is responsible for unique, intensely aromatic white wines unlike any other. With spicy and floral complexities that lend it a personality all its own, it is one of the most immediately identifiable varieties around.

Over the last ten or so years, Pinot Gris (sometimes labeled as Pinot Grigio) has gone from vinous anonymity to being one of the most popular and in-demand white wines of the day with Oregon playing a pivotal role in elevating its status here on the West Coast.

Unlike like its close relation, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc is a variety that is made in relatively tiny quantities and is largely unknown. That, however, does not mean that it should be ignored as examples such as those from Three Sticks and Dutton-Goldfield in this issue attest.


Chardonnay appears in the pages of CGCW several times each year, and, while a longer, more comprehensive look at new releases is planned for a few months down the line, we find room for a short-list of recent arrivals in this September edition.

In what is otherwise an issue entirely devoted to white wines, we close with a dozen new Barberas, several of which are remarkably good, that will meet the needs of those on the hunt for something interesting, red and very food-worthy.

As is once again the case, there is no shortage of lovely, very affordable Sauvignon Blancs from which to choose, and, though finding Cabernet Sauvignons that hit the mark for both quality and fine value is a bit more demanding task, there are, in fact, examples that do so with unqualified success.