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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

California Pinot Noir has been and remains on quite a roll over the last several years, and its enthusiastic reception among a growing number of admirers is more than justified. Not only has quality increased by leaps and bounds, the number of exciting new Pinot bottlings continues to grow, and the criticisms that good local Pinots were few and far between have all but disappeared. In addition to a bevy of new Pinots, we also turn our attention to a selection of 2014 Bordeaux whose imminent arrivals are generating a fair bit of interest as well, and we close out this month's issue with thoughts about some noteworthy older Cabernets from Dunn Vineyards.

Important new offerings from Blue Farm, Donum, Saintsbury, Testarossa and Williams Selyem are wines that no Pinot Noir lover will want to miss, but they are not the only standouts to be found in this month's extensive survey of recent releases, nearly three-quarters of which have earned starred recommendation.

As we like to do from time to time, we check in on the latest crop from Bordeaux to see how its stacks up home-grown efforts. If not likely to be mistaken for Cabernets and Merlots from Rutherford, Oakville and other points west, 2014 Bordeaux do offer unique pleasures of their own.

As appealing as young Cabernets can be, the best can gain great complexity and refined beauty when set aside in the cellar and allowed the chance to develop to their fullest. Our report on older vintages from Dunn Vineyards reminds that patience is a most definite virtue.

Noteworthy Chardonnays and Zinfandels costing twenty dollars and less are in the limelight this month as are a few tasty sparklers whose prices invite drinking without need of special occasion.