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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

The holidays are the time for splurging on a special bottle or two, and, in this issue, we report on a bevy of outstanding Cabernet Sauvignons and sparkling wines from some the state's most esteemed producers that fill just that bill, but, as is always the case, there are also plenty of affordable, exceptionally tasty wines that are guaranteed to make the days brighter without breaking seasonally-strained budgets.

California long ago proved that it could produce sparkling wines that ranked with the best in the world, but, more significant still, is the extraordinary quality that is routinely found in versions that cost but half as much as their French cousins from Champagne.

There is no question but that the genuine article from France is lovely stuff and is welcome at our tables any time, but, as this month's quick look a handful of wines from well-regarded houses reminds, the pleasures of Champagne do come at a price.

Cabernet Sauvignon has long been the wine for which California is most renowned and, if local Pinot Noir has lately and very justifiably received its share of acclaim, Cabernet only seem to be getting better and better in recent vintages and its long reign as the state's premier red variety continues.

Merlot, Sangiovese and Zinfandel are varieties capable of making satisfying wines of great richness, interest and depth, and this month's update on Best Buys in the Market convincingly makes the case that there is a bounty of particularly priceworthy offerings awaiting the smart shopper.