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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

Over the years, varieties and styles have gone in and out of fashion as each generation adds its own voice to the discussion of how things should be. In the last forty years or so, each of the varieties/types in this Issue has either emerged from oblivion here in California or has seen its fortunes change dramatically.

Just a few years ago, Syrah was being talked about in the past tense, but the death of Syrah has been greatly exaggerated. The brilliant success stories in this review prove otherwise.

What has been good seems to be getting better, and the number of recommendable wines is on the rise. What is more, California's sparkling wines will take on all comers when it comes to out-and-out value and handily emerge as the winner.

Sometimes we wonder if Merlot is not owed an apology for having been dismissed for no reason other than it is not Pinot Noir. Happily there are dedicated vintners who continue to give it the respect that it rightfully deserves.

While not exactly a rarity here in California, Sangiovese has remained a bit of a marginal player. That, of course, does not mean that very good examples do not exist, and, in this issue, we find a few wines worth serious attention.

There is a bounty of tasty offerings from which to choose in this month's shopping list of priceworthy Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs.