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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 has been justifiably called California's own, and it takes center stage this month. It is a grape overlooked by the rest of the winemaking world, yet it has a passionate, decidedly devout following, and we count ourselves among its dyed-in-the wool fans. It is responsible for an amazing variety of wines running from candied and cute, pink versions to some that could convincingly pass for ruby port, but when given the attention and winemaking respect typically accorded to Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, it produces unique, entirely compelling, cellar-worthy red wines that have been among our favorites since we learned how to pull corks, and it has consistently proven to deliver terrific bang for the buck. It is, of course, Zinfandel. If its name is never written as big or as brightly on the marquee as its noble French kin, it earns top billing this month, and suffice it to say that our recent tastings have been particularly rewarding.

Simply put, this month's line-up of new Zinfandels is a remarkable bunch. Zin has seemed to be stuck in the marketplace doldrums of late, but this California original is on an unprecedented roll with respect to high quality and is responsible for an absolute wealth of outstanding wines that are anything but boring.

We agree with its advocates who keep touting the virtues of fine west coast Riesling, and we keep waiting for the message to be more broadly heard. Whether vinified in a bone-dry version, one that favors a touch of sweetness or in an opulent, late-harvest, dessert guise, Riesling has a great deal to offer and ranks with the better white wine buys around.

Long a CGCW favorite when it comes to versatility and value, Sauvignon Blanc is reviewed for the second month in a row. Newly arrived 2015s get the spotlight in this issue, and, if the more ambitious bottlings are yet to be released, there is plenty to like in the first wave of wines from the vintage.

The small amount of Semillon that is now grown in California more often than not finds its way into various white blends, but it can make interesting wines on its own, and a tiny handful of west coast producers have stubbornly refused to let if fade into oblivion.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir get the September spotlight in our ongoing feature of well-made wines that are particularly easy on the budget.