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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

Zinfandel has a particularly loyal following and there are good reasons why. When well-made, it is a wonderfully rich companion to commensurably rich foods and shines with the grilled and barbecued fare that are central to summer dining. It gets the spotlight in July and shares the marquee with a bounty of white wines made from Rhône varieties and thirst-quenching Rosés

As its longtime devotees are well aware, good, very serious, genuinely collectible Zinfandels is not a new phenomenon, but Zin seems to get more and more, long-overdue respect with each vintage, and we are happy to report that it is roundly deserved.

When it comes to expressive white wines that are long on fruity richness, intensely fragrant Viognier ranks among our favorites, and our once-a-year look at new offerings counts many remarkably good, deeply satisfying renditions.

Each year there seems to be a few more Grenache Blanc bottlings, and, if the variety is generating a bit of new interest among winemakers, it still is a grape whose future fortunes are unclear. We do agree, however, with those who think it is worth watching.

A very small amount of Roussanne is being grown in California, and most of it that is finds its way into various white Rhône blends where it contributes heady, aromatic richness.

If, among California white varieties, Roussanne accounts for but a miniscule drop in the bucket, Marsanne is more uncommon yet, and, though upon rare occasion found varietally labeled, most of the wine it makes also winds up in blends.

Pinks made from Rhône varieties as well as those comprised principally of Zinfandel are featured this month in our latest look at new Rosés well timed for summer sipping.

Contrary to what too often seems the case, there are more than a few very well-made Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignons that are not painfully priced, and they are joined in this month's roster of Best Buys by Sauvignon Blancs that again remind that it is a variety that can be consistently relied upon for very fine value.