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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

Inspired by the great wines of Burgundy, but possessing a seemingly limitless variety of voices all their own, the Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs of the West Coast are, as their ardent fans have long been aware, as good as any in the world. Moreover, they are made in such an increasingly broad range of styles that they defy simple categorization, and, although they present the inquisitive drinker with a dizzying choice of delectable options, we are not about to argue that there can be too much of a good thing.

There are Chardonnays that fill the bill as affordable, easy-to-gulp, fruity quaffers and others that are as complex and worthy of long contemplation as any white wine can be. This month's update on new, not-to-be-missed examples shows off the full-spectrum of what this amazingly versatile variety has to offer.

Not only do the best West Coast Pinot Noirs seem to be getting better and better with each passing vintage, equally impressive is the sheer number of memorable offerings that make just that point. The collection of new releases reviewed in November is an especially noteworthy one with an uncommonly high percentage of collectable wines checking in with multiple-star ratings.

Top values in Syrah, Merlot and Barbera are in the limelight this month, and, when it comes to bang for the buck, our latest list of Best Buys counts some of the more-exciting red-wine bargains to be found regardless of variety.