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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

This month we take a long look at Chardonnays with special focus on the 2019 and 2020 vintages, and among the more than one hundred new wines reviewed, an uncommonly high number earn multiple-star recommendation. But, considering that May's line-up includes those from such highly accomplished, perennial favorites as DuMol, Frank Family, Kistler, Marimar and Testarossa among others, we admit to not being at all surprised.

Chardonnay's place as California's pre-eminent white wine is unchallenged by any other variety, and there are reasons aplenty why. The 2018 and 2019 vintages have yielded a bounty of fine bottlings, and the fire-plagued harvest of 2020, while so problematic for later-ripening reds, is looking to be yet another fine year for satisfying Chardonnays throughout the price spectrum.

That Petite Sirah is hearty stuff is beyond any debate, but there are some surprising, high-achieving examples that display real interest and depth and prove that variety can produce wines that are far more than just inky, too-tannic bruisers.

It is no secret that Cabernet Sauvignon can get pricey. If at times it seems that good examples are so expensive as to be but occasional treats, the truth is that there are more than a few that are both affordable and long on quality. This month, we offer our picks of favorite Cabernets that stand out for fine value along with Merlots that similarly deliver plenty to like without making a painful dent in the budget.