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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 said that no wine has improved in California as much as Pinot Noir has over the last generation, and we are loathe to disagree. The best West Coast efforts now rank with the finest examples to be found anywhere in the world. February's issue leads with a bevy of new releases, as well as a few fascinating older offerings, that convincingly make just that point, and we wrap this month's report with a brief survey of bottlings of its pale cousin, Pinot Gris.

Not so long ago, any discussion of fine Pinot Noir began and ended with Burgundy, but times have changed, and, if names featured in February, such as Dehlinger, Freeman, Merry Edwards, Williams Selyem and Three Sticks, have become synonymous with unsurpassed quality in Pinot, the roster of outstanding local producers only continues to grow.

Pinot Noir may not have a lifeline as lengthy as Cabernet Sauvignon, but the notion that time is its enemy and that it must necessarily be enjoyed in its first few years does not stand up to scrutiny. We pulled a dozen fifteen-year-old Pinots from our cellars to see how they have fared, and we confess to being pleasantly surprised.

Still riding the crest of an unlikely wave of popularity that few saw coming a decade or so back, Pinot Gris is, for the most part, little more than a light-hearted gulper, but there are a handful of relatively serious offerings well worth attention.

Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc are perennially the source of good values, and they are joined on this month's Best Buy shopping list by a few particularly noteworthy Chardonnays.