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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 true that good wine knows no season, and fine Chardonnay and Rosé are welcome at any time of the year, but both come into their own with the lighter meals that the long days of summer commend and are the focus of this month's edition. We take time as well for a cameo look at the soon-to-arrive 2015 red wines from several dozen of the leading Châteaux of Bordeaux and find that, while many are ambitiously priced, they are as a whole an exceptional lot that stands comfortably alongside their equally impressive cousins from California.

Well-crafted Chardonnay remains the richest of all the world's important white wines, and the California version just seems to keep getting better and better with a succession of very favorable vintages. This, the second of our two-part survey begun in June includes a host of superlative versions that Chardonnay lovers will not want to miss.

There may be no better wine than West Coast Rosé for those looking to drink fresh, local and affordable as the mercury begins to rise. The market's thirst for pink has been unquenchable of late, and, as this month's roster of nearly seventy new releases attests, the proliferation of tasty examples from wineries of all stripes and sizes has been nothing less than remarkable.

Not every vintage in Bordeaux works out to vintners' satisfaction, but 2015 brought plenty of smiles to the faces of vignerons throughout the region and has yielded a considerable number of excellent Cabernet- and Merlot-based bottlings that hit the mark smartly in terms of structure while showing more fruity depth than in any year since 2010.

The focus on fine value shifts to Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc in July, and there more than a few eye-opening offerings whose quality far exceeds what their comparatively modest price tags might lead one to expect.