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Meet the New CGCW


For over forty years, Connoisseurs’ Guide has been the authoritative voice of the California wine consumer. With readers in all fifty states and twenty foreign countries, the Guide is valued by wine lovers everywhere for its honesty and for it strong adherence to the principles of transparency, unbiased, hard-hitting opinions. Now, it is becoming the California winelover’s most powerful online voice as well. And, our new features provide an unmatched array of advice and information for aficionados of every stripe.


Our monthly newsletter, noted for its accuracy, independence and thoroughness by both the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle remains the focus of our activities. Connoisseurs’ Guide reviews thousands of California and West Coast wines in peer-to-peer blind tastings. Our guest panelists are all industry professionals including other wine writers, sommeliers, retailers and distributors. Almost all other wine reviews are the result of “single palate” tastings and do not match the depth of knowledge and powerful analytical talents brought together at our table.


We buy a high percentage of the wines we taste, and while we accept samples, we do not limit ourselves to reviews of wines submitted. And we never engage in the highly questionable tactic of tasting wines at the winery with the labels showing. Many limited production wineries insist on that bias-inducing scenario. We politely tell them that we do not do it. As the result, we may miss out on some limited production wines, but we do not compromise on our guarantee to you of complete independence and total objectivity.


The new CGCW uses the Internet to bring its readers and fans a series of new features including wine country restaurant recommendations, book reviews, touring advice, wine and food pairings that work because we have perfected them over years of serving meals at the end of our blind tastings. And, our unprecedented REPORT CARDS, issued every Thursday, will tell you which wineries and writers have got it right and which have got it wrong. Subscribers to CGCW will receive the REPORT CARD by email on Wednesdays as well as advance notice of the daily extras that will appear in the Connoisseurs’ Blog for the coming week.


Subscribers also receive discount purchases of our best-selling book, The Connoisseurs’ Guidebook to California Wines and Wineries, published by the University of California Press. Newly minted and up-to-date, this handy tome is part atlas, part encyclopedia and part tour guide, and its introductions to the leading California wines and wineries is fast becoming must reading for everyone who enjoys California wine.



To learn more about Connoisseurs Guide, TAKE THE TOUR and be sure to VIEW A SAMPLE ISSUE.


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.