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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

Like most unrepentant lovers of fine wines, we find the holidays a perfect excuse to reach deep into the cellar for a special bottle or two, and, be it high-achieving bubbles or serious, show-stopping Cabernet Sauvignons, the word "special" seems almost inadequate in describing this month's roster of worthies. We candidly confess to looking forward to the tasting schedule for December each year with keen anticipation, and, once again, we are not disappointed.

We enjoy sparkling wine throughout the year and have never felt compelled to wait for occasions of great moment to indulge, but we admit that the holiday season only fuels our thirst for good bubbly, and, as we are reminded this month, there is no shortage of top-flight local bottlings at a number of price points waiting to make the holidays brighter than ever.

Our annual Cabernet review typically includes some of the most awaited releases of the year, and outstanding new arrivals from Baldacci, Frank Family, Joseph Phelps, Patrimony, Paul Hobbs, Trefethen and Von Strasser, to name but a few, are included in an exciting collection of memorable offerings that is nothing less than an embarrassment of riches.

Even if the season invites a degree of extravagance when picking wines for drinking with family and friends, there are plenty of noteworthy bottles that do not threaten to bust the budget, and this month we look at recommended Chardonnays, Merlots and Pinot Noirs that will not leave one in regret when credit card bills come due in January.