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Meet the New CGCW


For thirty-five 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

Syrah takes the lead in this month's issue and continues its slow but steady climb to legitimacy as one of California's more serious red wines. The high quality efforts made by its dedicated makers attest to its importance, and, if not nearly as widely appreciated as we believe it deserves to be, top-tier Syrah is not about to disappear from the scene. New Chardonnays are featured as well, and an exceptionally high number earn enthusiastic recommendation. And, just in time to meet the needs of seasonal drinking, our July edition closes with a lengthy look at Rosé and a quick one at Pinot Gris.

Good Syrah occupies a niche all its own among complex and expressive red wines. This month's feature includes many made by the state's top producers, and, as more than a few of the offerings reviewed in these pages prove, those being made here on the West Coast hold their own with the best produced anywhere.

Chardonnay needs no introduction other than to say that what has been very good seems to keep getting better. It may be true that the finest examples do not come cheap, but we would argue that they are still good values on the broader world stage, and there are plenty of affordable bottlings that do not stint on pleasure.

As anyone who follows the trends in wine over the past couple of years knows, Rosé is enjoying new celebrity and acclaim, and its image as a sweet and simple quaff has been dramatically changed by the host of well-made dry versions that now vie for space on retailers shelves.

Pinot Gris is responsible for a veritable ocean of easy-going white wine, and, while a pleasant sipper when carefully made, there are enough dull and listless renditions crowding the market that it is best to be choosy when making a selection.