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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 secret that California's winemaking success does not begin and end with Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This month some of their less-heralded kindred get a chance to shine, and shine they do! New Syrahs and Merlots lead the way and impress equally for both their quality and often-noteworthy value. Cabernet Franc continues its recent climb to star status, and we check in on local progress with two classic varieties from Italy and Spain before finishing with a passel of new pinks.

Syrah may have had its ups and downs in its comparatively brief history here, but there is simply no denying that it is reaching new heights of quality with each passing vintage and now ranks with California's best and most important red wines.

In its heyday, Merlot was a wildly popular player in the California wine scene, and, while many counted it out, it is gaining renewed luster as the latest generation of wine drinkers is discovering its manifold charms.

It may not challenge the supremacy of Cabernet Sauvignon as California's greatest vinous achievement, but Cabernet Franc is lately showing that it deserves serious respect and can make involving wines that are every bit as good as its famous relation.

When one thinks of Sangiovese, it is Tuscany, not California, that comes to mind, yet a few determined producers are, at least in a small way, out to change the way we think.

Reportedly the third most widely planted wine grape in the world, Tempranillo gets little attention here and only lately is attracting a bit of interest owing to a hopeful handful of winemakers.

The days when pink wine was synonymous with sweet happily lie in the distant past, and, along with its remarkable recent rise in popularity, so too has dry Rosé seen a marked increase in quality.

Riesling, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir share the Best Buy stage this October, and a good many bottlings deserve an extra round of applause when it comes to exceptional value.