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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

Cabernet Sauvignon and its red cousins from Bordeaux along with white wines made from Viognier share this month's marquee. The considerable successes of each in the last several vintages continues without qualification, and, the remarkable rise of Pinot Noir notwithstanding, Cabernet's place as America's most popular wine is wholly justified.

Outstanding new bottlings from 2016 offer no let-up in the excitement generated in the vintages starting in 2012, but lest one forget about the past several harvests, there are still late-arriving offerings from 2015 and before that only add to Cabernet's current luster.

Merlot provides especially friendly drinking even when young, and, as April's quick look at a collection of affordable bottlings reminds, there is an abundance of fine values awaiting the discerning Merlot fan.

It seems like Cabernet Franc is drawing more winemaker interest with each passing year, and it is beginning to establish a much-deserved following of its own.

No longer spoken of only for its success in Argentina, Malbec looks to be finding a promising new home in the vineyards of the West Coast.

If an admittedly marginal player here in California, Petit Verdot is developing a small following among fans of stout and sturdy red wines.

Wonderfully expressive and rife with juicy fruit, Viognier has justly earned a place as one of California's more important white wines, and the better versions are not to be missed.

Veritable bargains abound in Syrah, Grenache and Sauvignon Blanc, and, in this outing, we reprise some of our recent favorites that significantly overachieve at the price.