About

This Washington, D.C. based wine blog is about the history, imagery, and tasting of wine. The posts extend beyond simple tasting notes and producer profiles in an attempt to appeal to a broad audience. The tasting notes are unique for they also include both old wine and rare wine with vintages dating back over two centuries.  The rich history of wine is told through the history of art, numismatics, archaeology, history of medicine, and personal travel experiences.  Historical posts are extensively researched and heavily referenced using a variety of sources from online archives to print media.  These historical posts are the focus of The Washington Post article What did the founding fathers drink? And other pressing wine questions. written by Dave McIntyre.  You may find more history of wine at:

Facebook: History of Wine

Twitter: #histwine

Hogshead Wine is updated Monday through Friday and is currently read by almost 5,000 individuals per month.

People

Aaron Nix-Gomez
Wine Historian
Chevy Chase View, Maryland

It was during a year abroad in the historic wine importing city of Bristol, England, that I became captivated by wine.  Today, I spend my time uncovering lost histories about wine in addition to a full-time position as a Principal Engineer at the Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington.  In 2016 I was inducted into the Confraria do Vinho da Madeira (brotherhood of Madeira wine) in the first enthronization ceremony held outside of Madeira.

My research has led to such posts as “’Grapes Very Fair and Excellent Good’: The First Known Vintage in the Colony of Virginia”, “’Murder and Thieves’: The theft of wine in London 1685-1799”, “Bomford, Lindsay, and Smith: The Early Vineyards of Washington, DC”, and “’they had drunk English wine sold at Jacatra’ : The Cultivation of the Vine in England and the East India Company’s Concern for Wine 1600-1630”.  My research also extends to Madeira which led to a joint project with Mannie Berk, The Rare Wine Co., and The Montpelier Foundation to produce a commemorative bottling of Madeira for the 200th anniversary of the burning of Washington, DC.

Lou French
Author
Bethesda, Maryland

Lou’s life-long passion for wine began when he worked at Wells Discount Liquor in Baltimore, Maryland during the early 1980s.  He continues to takes notes on all of the wines he drinks and is interested in wines of all origins and ages.

Tasting Notes

We write down tasting notes for the vast majority of all wines which are encountered. Most of these encounters occur at home where we typically have two to four bottles open. With this constant rotating selection, notes for a particular wine are typically taken over a two to three-day period. We also frequently taste at one of our houses where we open six to eight bottles centered on a theme. At the end of the tasting we split up the leftover wines then retaste them the following night. All leftover wine is enclosed with a liberal dose of Private Preserve. It is from these evenings that the majority of the formal tasting notes are generated.

We also write notes when we taste wine at a restaurant, casually at a friend’s house, a wine store, or a trade tasting. We record these shorter, less formal notes because we find the impressions are still useful. These tasting notes are always accompanied by the event at which they were tasted.

The vast majority of the wines reviewed are privately purchased by the authors or their friends. A small portion of the wines are tasted at public events held by wineries, importers, and wine stores. Any published reviews that stem from public events or free samples will be clearly noted.

Rating

All formally tasted wines will be rated similar to Michael Broadbent’s scoring system where a wine may receive zero to five stars. We would drink wines receiving two stars at parties, bars, and restaurants if they are value priced. We would not hesitate to drink any wine receiving three or more stars. Most informally tasted wines will be marked by Not Rated. Wines tasted at store or trade events typically fall into this category because we do not feel comfortable rating a wine based on one or two small pours or from inadequate stemware.

*****    Outstanding       Arresting, the best, truly memorable.
****     Very Good         Makes one smile, worthy of the effort to find.
***      Good              Gives strong pleasure, good character, our daily drinkers.
**       Moderately Good   An enjoyable wine appropriate for parties and meals.
*        Fair              Drinkable but no character or too many negative traits.
No Stars Poor              Flawed or undrinkable.

Parenthesis and Aging Estimates

Parenthesis signifies that a wine which is currently drinking at one level should improve to a higher level with age. For example, ***(*) signifies that a wine is currently drinking Good but with age will become Very Good. Wines that may be drunk now with pleasure will have an age estimate starting with Now. If the wine requires age then the start date signifies when it should be tried again. The stop date signifies when the plateau of drinking will end.  It is not that the wine still stop drinking well once the end date it reached, rather an estimate of when it starts declining from prime drinking. These estimates should be taken lightly so you may judge if a wine may be drunk now or should be cellared and its relative longevity.

  1. May 5, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    I saw some of your posts on Wine Berserkers and then checked out some of your blog info. I like the background and detail that you provide. Very nice information as I knew almost nothing about most of the wines you were discussing.

    I linked from my blog to yours. I also use a WordPress blog, but I host it at a pay domain.

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I enjoyed it.

    -Pat
    (grenik on Wine Berserkers)

    • May 6, 2011 at 9:07 am

      Pat,

      Thank you very much. I try to drink interesting wines and I have a great time doing research. Yes, I occasionally post on Wine Berserkers but have found the free form nature of my own blog to be ideal. Thanks for linking to my site and I’ll check out your website some more.

      Aaron

  2. July 25, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Dear Aaron,

    I was happy that lately you wrote about my Lagrein. This indigenous variety, which mainly grows in Alto Adige, we are selling very well in the states – together with our other indigenous variety, the schiava. Whenever you find it, try it! We startet to sell it in New York with good results. Whenever you need more information, feel free to contact us!

    Thank you,

    Elena Walch

  1. February 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm

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