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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

Bordelaise reds are the focus of this month's issue, and Cabernet Sauvignon's position as California's most important red wine looks to be strengthened by the marvelous 2012 vintage. Merlot's star may be shining a little less brightly these days, but the variety can make serious and satisfying wines. And, while they are hardly new players in California, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot are showing signs that they may be quietly emerging from the shadows.

Even before the first grapes were picked from the 2012 harvest, there was a palpable sense of excitement in wine country, and Cabernet Sauvignon is now adding another very strong voice to the chorus of success.

The richness and refined charms of top-flight Merlot are uniquely its own, and we cannot help but agree.

Whether made in a sturdy Bordelais style or in the lighter Loire Valley version, Cabernet Franc is gradually making a name for itself.

Malbec's claim to international fame is largely due its success in Argentina, but local efforts are finding their own signs of happiness here as well.

So far, rarely seen on wine labels, Petit Verdot can make dark, very solid, substantially tannic wines, but it is early days for the variety locally.

Syrah and Petite Sirah head up April's shopping list of noteworthy values, and they are joined by a raft of Chardonnay recommendations, some of which are nothing short of a bargain.