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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

Sparkling wines and Cabernet Sauvignon in current release, as well as a collection of fully mature Cabernets from 2004, are featured in this issue, and, as always, there are happy discoveries aplenty, just in time to make to add extra luster to seasonal celebrations.

We are second to none in our appreciation of California's best sparkling wines, but, while they can be breathtaking, equally impressive is the quality offered by more affordable bottling, many of whose modest prices are cause for celebration themselves.

2004 was one of the riper vintages on record and spawned much controversy about the direction in which California wines might be headed. A great many pundits argued that wines of such ripeness could not possibly age, and we take a look at a dozen selected Cabernets of the vintage to see just how they are doing at in their fifteenth year.

As more 2016 Cabernets arrive, it is becoming clear that praise for the much-heralded harvest has not been hyperbolic, and, even though our cellars are well-stocked with wines from the previous four excellent vintages, there is always room for a few more when they are as good as the 2016s.

We agree with those who hold that good wine is a necessity, and this month's line-up of top values in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Zinfandel once again proves that quality and affordability are far from mutually exclusive.