User ID:

Remember me
Lost password?

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

In most Cabernet issues, the pages are brimming with wines reaching out to our pocketbooks because they are so good we just have to have them. Such is not exactly the case here. After all, we are dealing mostly with the wines of 2011 and the vintage is now well-known for what it has not delivered. The late-arriving 2010s are, for the most part, the leftovers and left behinds, and if that is a bit of an exaggeration, so too are the reports of disaster in 2011. For sure, the rate of success is not as high as in better vintages, but there are many, many fine wines, and we went in search of answers as to why. The full Cabernet essay speaks to reasons why there are some quite exceptional wines from what is admittedly a less than stellar vintage.

There are times when we are tempted to pigeon-hole Sauvignon Blanc as a niche grape sort of like Gewurztraminer and Petite Sirah. But, it is more than that, and its status as the number two white in California continues without letup. Being number two is OK in our books.

This grape of the two names seems never to excite. It just earns its way be making pleasant, easy-to-like wines at reasonable prices. A Mercedes it is not, but then, neither is a Prius, and both have their places.

Turn your attention here for GOOD VALUE recommendations in Chardonnay, Syrah and Rosé. Yes, Rosé! Because a well-chilled, well-fruited pink wine will be just what the doctor ordered during the dog days of summer sipping.