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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

It is no news to those who follow fine wine production here on the West Coast (and in the classic districts of Europe for the matter) that recent times have been challenging for those whose profession is the making of fine wine, and 2022 is presenting pointed challenges of its own. 

Riesling may not have the kind of broad-market following of Chardonnay and likely never will. But it is regarded as one of the world's greatest, most noble white varieties of them all. There are good reasons why.

Chenin Blanc occupies but a small niche in California, and there is far less of it grown than there once was, yet, in the capable hands of its best producers, it yields thought-provoking wines of real appeal.

The Lang & Reed Wine Company has carved out a place as one of Chenin Blanc's most accomplished makers, and, in this issue, we take the opportunity to review all of the bottlings that the winery has made starting with the first from the 2013 vintage.

Hard to pronounce, but easy to like, Gewürztraminer is responsible for unique, intensely aromatic white wines unlike any other. With spicy and floral complexities that lend it a personality all its own, it is one of the most immediately identifiable varieties around.

Over the last ten or so years, Pinot Gris (sometimes labeled as Pinot Grigio) has gone from vinous anonymity to being one of the most popular and in-demand white wines of the day with Oregon playing a pivotal role in elevating its status here on the West Coast.

Unlike like its close relation, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc is a variety that is made in relatively tiny quantities and is largely unknown. That, however, does not mean that it should be ignored as examples such as those from Three Sticks and Dutton-Goldfield in this issue attest.

 

Chardonnay appears in the pages of CGCW several times each year, and, while a longer, more comprehensive look at new releases is planned for a few months down the line, we find room for a short-list of recent arrivals in this September edition.

In what is otherwise an issue entirely devoted to white wines, we close with a dozen new Barberas, several of which are remarkably good, that will meet the needs of those on the hunt for something interesting, red and very food-worthy.

As is once again the case, there is no shortage of lovely, very affordable Sauvignon Blancs from which to choose, and, though finding Cabernet Sauvignons that hit the mark for both quality and fine value is a bit more demanding task, there are, in fact, examples that do so with unqualified success.