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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

Pinot Noir is enjoying popularity in California of late and there are good reasons why. This month, we review over one-hundred new arrivals, many of which hail from some of the state’s most acclaimed producers. Pinot’s Burgundian cousin, Chardonnay, makes an appearance as well in the first of an extended, two-part feature that will conclude in November, and we wrap up the issue with a quick report on Gewürztraminer, Albariño and Grüner Veltliner, three attractive, aromatic-white varieties that do not find the spotlight shining in their direction often enough.

There is reason for excitement when producers like DuMOL, Ram's Gate, Saintsbury and Williams Selyem show up on the list as they do here in October, but, if this month's roster of new wines adds even more luster to their names, it also reminds that these established greats do not have a monopoly on delicious, highly collectable Pinots.    

New Chardonnays from the Sonoma Coast, Carneros and the Russian River Valley are queued up and waiting for our November issue while an attractive contingent from the state's other appellations gets a chance to shine in this issue.

There are far fewer local Gewürztraminers being made than there once was, and we often find ourselves wishing for more. This unique, wonderfully aromatic white fills a niche all its own.

A favorite of Spain and a variety that is slowly gaining traction in California, Albariño has become more than an esoteric rarity hereabouts, and the offerings reviewed this month, while not great in number, prove that the grape has a place on the west coast.

Rarely mentioned in wine discussions until recent years, Austria's Grüner Veltliner has taken on an air of respectability and counts an increasing number of fans; among them are a handful of vintners here in California.

Top values in Zinfandel, Riesling and Syrah move to center stage in October and offer rewards aplenty to discerning, pennywise wine lovers on the prowl for a good deal.