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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

New Pinot Noir gets top billing this month, and the number of exciting new bottlings just seems to keep growing. The days when fine versions were in short supply are long gone, and just as new labels and names make their ways to the market, so too do many well-regarded producers continue to broaden their portfolios with myriad single-vineyard renditions. It is no easy task to keep up with the ever-expanding collection of first-rate offerings, but, given the high quality evident in the last several vintages, we are not complaining, and we wrap up our February edition with a quick look at Pinot Noir's close relation, Pinot Gris, which has been winning a host of new followers of late.

More and more wine lovers are discovering the special charms of fine Pinot, and more and more vintners are mastering its making. Important new releases from old favorites such as Chasseur, Dehlinger, Dutton Goldfield, Merry Edwards, Talley and Testarossa make an appearance this month along with a few stunning surprises from newer names that are eminently worth knowing.

Not every wine needs to be thought-provoking and complex, and there are times when something lighter and fresher is called for. Good Pinot Gris can fill just that bill, and it can do it without putting a dent in the budget.

Year in and year out, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc can be relied upon when it comes to fine value, and our picks of the current bunch are joined on February's shopping list of Best Buys by a handful of exceptional Syrahs.