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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

Cabernet Sauvignon and its red Bordelaise cousins share the spotlight in April, and what has proven to be a remarkable parade of fine vintages shows no signs of slowing. While there is no dearth of collectable offerings reviewed in this issue, there is also an uncommonly high number of noteworthy values that remind good examples of these varieties can be enjoyed on a regular basis and need not be looked at as wines to reserve solely for special occasions.

Last April, we expressed our excitement at the state of local Cabernet as the 2014 vintage completed a trifecta of first-rate harvests, and now, a year later, our enthusiasm has only grown with the arrival of the 2015s. We do not know how long the extraordinary string of successes will last, but we are not about to complain about the remarkable bounty of exceptionally fine versions from which to choose.

Merlot appears to be making a long-overdue comeback, and, as long-time fans of the grape, we could not be more pleased as a new generation of discerning wine drinkers is discovering just how inviting and downright delicious attentively made Merlot can be.

Cabernet Franc has taken on a degree of heretofore unseen seriousness over the last several years and has become an increasingly important player in California's portfolio of fine wines. The current crop is as good as any we can recall.

Malbec has taken on international significance thanks to Argentina, and, with each passing vintage, more and more local vintners are discovering that this variety can make attractive wines with a uniquely Californian voice.

Principally employed as a grape that contributes color and tannic muscle to Bordeaux-inspired blends hereabouts, Petit Verdot is slowly attracting attention from a handful of producers who are rethinking its place as a stand-alone variety.

For some time now, we have argued that the Rhône varieties are deserving of notice for both quality and fine value, and this latest edition of Best Buys features wines made from Syrah, Grenache and Viognier that emphatically make just that point.