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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

With its focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this Issue looks at two varieties that are at the heart of the "what is balance?" debate. Richness and deep flavor versus low alcohol and high acidity are the points upon which the arguments hinge. We do not take sides in the debate but enjoy wines of all stripes when they are well-made.

Its prices may not yet rival those of the top California Cabernet Sauvignons, and privately, we hope they never will, but Pinot Noir's popularity is driving the cost up and also encouraging growers and winemakers to provide more and more of it. The cooler parts of the West Coast, ranging from the Sta. Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County all the way up to Oregon, has created the world's longest Pinot Noir playground.

The white grape mate to Pinot Noir in its native Burgundy, it grows here in many of the same locales as Pinot Noir and loves the cool vineyard sites as well where it can ripen with full flavor and plenty of acidity. And, when one gets a few miles further inland, there is still balance to be had as well as fuller bodies and enhanced richness.

Nothing could be better than a bargain, and this edition of Best Buys finds plenty of wines whose QPR (quality to price ratio) is exemplary.