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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

Cabernet Sauvignon is often called California's greatest success story when it comes to producing truly great wine, and this month a raft of new releases from the much-heralded 2013 vintage confirms local Cabernet's place as being among the very best in the world. Our August survey of Sauvignon Blancs from 2014 and a few from before reinforces our long-held belief that Sauvignon Blanc is not only a value leader in white wines but that it can also that it can produce wines of surprising richness and range, and we close out this issue with a lengthy look at the distinctive Sauvignon Blancs of New Zealand.

Winemaker optimism for Cabernet over the last several years is proving to be justified, and the remarkable success of the 2012 harvest has clearly been repeated in 2013. Both vintages are responsible for an absolute bounty of first-rate bottlings, and this month we report on some of the best.

Sauvignon Blanc ranks with the most versatile, food-friendly white wines to be had and is a welcome guest at the table with everything from delicate shellfish to flavorful poultry preparations, and, as our latest tastings of recent releases once again confirms, it delivers plenty of bang for the buck.

Every so often we like to pause and have a look at what the rest of the world is doing with the classic varieties by way of better understanding the larger global fine wine scene and California's place within it, and we turn our attention to New Zealand with a feature on the country's justifiably popular Sauvignon Blancs.

Good values abound in Syrah, Chardonnay and Rosés made from a wide range of different grapes, and our quick review of Best Buys highlights many that offer remarkable quality at the price.