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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

September's edition of CGCW covers an especially wide range of varieties, and, as is usual for the month, gives much of the stage over to aromatic white wines that are rarely regarded as stars even though they are long on character, immensely appealing and deserve their time in the spotlight. New Barberas and Pinot Noirs round out the issue and fill the bill in satisfying the need for something tasty and red.

At the very top of the white wine roster in many minds, Riesling yields delicious, wonderfully well-balanced offerings in styles ranging from very dry to very sweet and works as well with food as it does as a stand-alone refresher.

Good Chenin Blanc should not be underestimated, and, while there are not many, it turns out that with only a brief bit of searching, good ones are not all that hard to find.

There may be far fewer California bottlings than there was once in the past, but thanks to a stubborn few makers, Gewürztraminer has happily not disappeared from the local scene.

A marvelous mate to seafoods of all kinds, this recent transplant from Spain is thriving in many of the state's growing regions and has the look of a variety that is here to stay.

Light and refreshing with subtle, minerally highlights at its best, Grüner Veltliner may be little more than a local hope at the moment, but its tiny handful of makers are on a mission to make it better known.

Rarely complex, but a likeable wine when well-made, Pinot Blanc will be well-received by those who favor rounded white wines of temperate acidity.

Another new crop of Pinot awaits in this issue, and September's bevy of outstanding renditions testifies that the variety is still on a winning streak.

Too often dismissed as a rustic red of limited interest, Barbera is undergoing a revival that shows it to be a wine with a serious side when attentively grown and made.

Sauvignon Blanc heads up this month's shopping list of Best Buys and is joined by Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah that discerning wine drinkers with an eye to fine value will not want to miss.