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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

West Coast vintners' endeavors with Rhône varieties are showing new sophistication with each passing vintage, and, while capably capturing the richness inherent in each, these are wines that exhibit more polish and complexity than ever before.

Among the most out-and-out inviting and delectable of the Rhône reds, Grenache is a wine that we have been watching for some time, and the exciting new bunch that has made its way to our tasting table is cause for real celebration

Well-made Syrah can be very serious stuff, and this month's collection of new worthies warrants serious attention. There are examples made for cellaring and others that provide tasty drinking right now, and the across-the-board quality is striking.

Grown throughout Southern France, Mouvèdre has slowly taken hold here in California and has become an important component of a good many savory blends.

Wines made from Carignane, especially those sourced from very old, "heritage" sites are a hearty bunch ideally suited for pairing with hearty roasts, braises and stews.

Cinsault makes unexpectedly delicate and graceful wines and is sure to come as a surprise to those that think all Rhônish reds are big, beefy and robust.

With its intoxicating perfume of flowers and fruit, Viognier is, when well-made, a wonderfully rich wine that is lovely on its own or when matched up with food.

We see a few more bottlings of Grenache Blanc with each new vintage, but more than any other of its pale Rhône relations, Grenache Blanc in California is a work still in progress.

Although Roussanne is usually combined with other white varieties, its rich, slightly honeyed qualities come clearly through, and occasional, unblended bottlings can impress with their richness, structure and fruity strength.

Relatively scarce in California and, like Roussanne, almost always employed in blends, Marsanne makes rich and weighty wines of which we have occasionally been impressed.

Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and a handful of reprised Chardonnay favorites head up the March edition of Best Buys and, if all offer fine value, more than a few are unqualified steals.