Archive for the ‘Personal History’ Category

The 2014 Wine Blog Awards Are Accepting Nominations

April 29, 2014 2 comments

The 8th Annual 2014 Wine Blog Awards are now open for nominations.  If you enjoy reading this blog then please consider nominating it at Submit Your Favorite for any appropriate category.  Over the last year I have written a large number of unique posts which you may find on the History of Wine tab beginning with The First Vintages of the Colony of Virginia.  I truly believe no other wine blog has matched my contributions to our understanding of the History of Wine.  So please consider any of these posts when submitting your nominations.

Nominations will only be accepted through May 2nd, this Friday, so do not hesitate to submit!  Remember, you may submit multiple posts and categories.


Happy Birthday! Hogshead Wine Turns Three


Yesterday was the third birthday of the Hogshead Wine Blog!!!  There are now a total of 1,103 posts on this blog of which 243 were published during this past year.  This represents an average of almost five posts per week, down from eight posts per week at the last anniversary.  Still, the lifetime average is seven posts per week typically Monday through Friday.  The reduction in posts reflects the significant amount of time it takes to research for and write about the History of Wine.  That is not bad considering I have both a family and full-time day job.   There are now 4,768 published images occupying 1.9 GB of space.  I have worked hard to bring many historic images to your attention and hope that you are attracted to both the images and the writing.

Traffic continues to steadily build.  There are now 1,107 dedicated WordPress, Email, Twitter, and Facebook followers.  Individual readership remains steady at some 4,000 reader per months generating under 7,000 page views per month.  Local readership has increased slightly to 58% followed by international readers from 179 different countries led off by the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Germany, Spain, Australia, Italy, and the Netherlands.  This order has shuffled slightly from the year before.  There are a large number of referrers but the top remain Facebook, Twitter, MacArthur Beverages, and David White’s Terroirist.

The post I Try Cups of Copa Di Vino has now swapped placed with Wine Related Dutch Paintings of the 17th Century to become the most popular post.  Surprisingly, the About page is almost as popular as Did I Save $200 by Drinking 2012 Chakan Estate?  Two of my least viewed posts include 1983 Warre’s and 1985 Dow’s along with 2006 Leitz, Rudesheimer Magdalenenkreuz, Riesling Spatlese.  Perhaps this proves that dull titles do not generate much interest.  The titles for my historical post usually incorporate a period quote with the most popular being “Grapes Very Fair and Excellent Good”: The First Known Vintage in the Colony of Virginia.  My passion lies in the History of Wine.  I suggest you check that page from time to time for this summer will see some interesting posts.

Thank you all for continuing to read and comment!


Categories: Personal History

Happy Birthday! Hogshead Wine Turns Two


Today is the second anniversary of the Hogshead Wine Blog!!!  It all begin with a post about My First Tasting with The University of Bristol Wine Circle.  Since then over 860 posts have been published representing an average of eight posts per week.  I publish them Monday through Friday though I admittedly have missed a handful of days.   These posts feature over 3,500 images of wine labels, corks, winemakers, vineyards, maps, and paintings occupying some 1.6 GB of storage.  The folks at MacArthur Beverages sometimes wonder if I have a day job.  I do, I just am fortunate to possess a lot of annual leave.  I have settled in to writing every morning before I start work, though I do work on plane flights as described in Tasting Wine at 34,000 Feet….Live!

Traffic has slowly and steadily built such that there are 500 dedicated WordPress, Email, Twitter, and Facebook followers.  They are part of some 4,000 individual readers who generate over 7,000 page views per month.  With 56% of the readership located in the United States this blog has attracted an international following. These international readers are located in 165 different countries with 30% being from the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Australia, Spain, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, and India.

While whatever is on the home page remains the most viewed content, my Dutch history series such as Wine Related Dutch Paintings of the 17th Century remain assuredly the top favorite followed by I Try Cups of Copa Di Vino which skyrocketed in popularity this winter.  Hamburger, Fries, and Wine! where I review the 2008 Shake Shack, Cabernet Franc remains one of the least viewed posts.  Search engines drive the majority of referrals followed by Facebook, MacArthur Beverages, Twitter, Fran Kysela, and Wine Berserkers.  I do not keep track of how many wines I have written about but these surely number in the low thousands.  The vast majority of these are purchased though I do receive samples from Cornerstone Cellars, MacArthur Beverages, Chateau Juvenal, and Tendril Wine Cellars.  The wines are typically from France, Italy, and the United States, such as New Mexico, though Spain, Germany, Australia, South Africa, and Portugal are sprinkled about.  There are a number posts featuring wines from Lebanon, Greece, Hungary, and even Turkey, Serbia, Israel, Croatia, Mexico, and Bulgaria. I typically write my notes in Moleskine Notebooks and have started in on my fourth large reporter notebook and eighth small notebook.

I continue to wear out corkscrews as I taste wine at a continuous rate.  I still prefer to taste a wine over two nights so I have emptied many bottles of Private Preserve in the family room and kitchen.  Spiegelau Vino Grande Bordeaux remains my favorite tasting glass.  Sometimes I swirl too vigorously or drip while pouring, so I have come to appreciate Wine Away stain remover.  Most of these wines are tasted at home with Jenn but a significant portion have been shared with Lou, who has even started posting.  Lou and I have handed out some 250 business cards in an effort to spread awareness of the blog.  I have occasionally been seen to taste a wine without writing down a note.  Some of my favorite posts are related to the History of Wine.  These posts take time to research and have driven a significant increase in book acquisitions.

Thank you all for reading the blog and posting comments.  I am working on several in-depth posts for the next year so be sure to check back.

Categories: Personal History

Leighton House Selections

Jenn and I lived in Laurel, Maryland during her Law School years.  We continued to drink wine but our selections were rather meager.  Jenn’s student loans rapidly lost pace against the large annual tuition increases, I was pursuing a second Masters Degree, and working full-time to support us.  As a result our daily wine consisted of only the finest bottles we could buy between $4-$7 at Fine Wine in Laurel.  After finishing our degrees and getting married we purchased a house in Silver Spring.  Having a proper basement to store our wine, being in closer proximity to the Washington, DC wine stores, and having a new friend who worked at Bacchus Importers marked a turn in our wine drinking.

07 November 2005

 Dear X,

Welcome to the Leighton House Selections’ monthly wine program.  You have been enrolled at the $50 per month membership level.  Your membership is valid for three months.  The last month you will receive wine is January 2006, unless you extend your subscription.  You may extend or upgrade your membership at any point.

The Monthly Program

Leighton House Selections is a collaboration between Aaron and Jenn.  Each month we select our favorite wines for your enjoyment.  It is an excellent way to sample wines from around the world.  Selections can include hard to find wineries from South Africa, older vintages from Australia, to the hottest Spanish wines available in DC.

Membership Benefits

Each month we will select two to four bottles of wine for you.  Along with your monthly selection of wines, you will receive detailed tasting notes and background information about the winery.  In addition you will receive access to personal wine buying services where we purchase the wines you need for gifts, celebrations, and holidays.

If you have any additional questions please contact Aaron or Jenn at (XXX) XXX-XXXX or

Very best regards,

 Aaron and Jenn

Excited to share the bottles of wine we discovered (and ride the Aussie wave) with our friends we created our own wine club.  Leighton House Selections made its debut in November 2005 and lasted for almost two years.  Each month we provided a selection of affordable wines and tasting sheets.

Tasting Notes

During that period we drank a diverse amount of wine and took short notes on all of the wines.  Wines which were potential candidates for a month’s selection would then be retasted using a tasting sheet.  Even Jenn wrote tasting notes and we both assigned points!  I would then produce an information sheet for each monthly selection.  The bottles and boxes would be adorned with a sticker.

Stickers with Logo

With a constant queue of partially drunk bottles in the kitchen we became increasingly curious to expand what we drank.  I started to shop regularly at MacArthurs with additional trips to Calvert Woodley, Circle Wine, Schneider’s, and Wide World of Wines. Our last monthly selection was handed out during May 2007.  With Jenn pregnant my wine related priorities shifted.  Captivated by Southern Rhone wines I wanted to lay down cases of young and aged wines to drink with Jenn in the future.

Information Sheets

Here are links to the tasting notes from the first four months of Leighton House Selections.  I will periodically publish notes from the remaining months and eventually publish short notes from the myriad of bottles of which we tasted.  I always find it great fun to read about my wine drinking history and hope you do to.

Selections for November 2005
Selections for December 2005
Selections for January 2006
Selections for February 2006

Categories: Image, Personal History

Happy New Years Eve!!!

December 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Almost nine months ago I created this blog and published my first post describing my introduction to wine tasting at Bristol University.  Since then I have published over 400 posts and even persuaded my sister-in-law Julie to post about Swiss wines.  While these posts primarily discuss contemporary wine notes I have also included old tasting notes from the past two decades, posts about the history of wine, and my personal history with wine.  According to WordPress statistics my site visits have increased from approximately 600 in the first month to approximately 3,500 per month.  The World Flag Counter reports these visits encompass 108 different countries!  While I receive constant hits due to Google searches I believe the growth is primarily attributed to the use of Twitter and Facebook.  When the blog approached its sixth month I hired Madd Design to create a new look.  Energized by my new logo I continued posting at the rate of six days per week.

Jenn and Aaron

It is exciting that family and friends read this blog along with people in the wine business and other enthusiasts.  None of this would be possible without the support I receive.  I must thank Shane for sourcing single bottles of wine, Phil for constantly bringing in new wines at the store and checking my German spelling, for my mom who has given me  many books for research, Lou for sharing fabulous bottles and his willingness to constantly taste wine, and finally to Jenn whose idea it was to create this blog.  For every wine I write about Jenn was at my side tasting it as well, listening to my description and offering her own impressions.  And to the littlest expert that I know, my daughter Lorelei, who sometimes puts up with my requests to smell a glass of wine and provide a comment.

Categories: Image, Personal History

Six Months of Hogsheadwine!!!

Today is the six month anniversary of Hogsheadwine!  The time has flown by as I have settled into posting six days per week using Wordpress, Facebook, and Twitter.  I have managed to maintain the blog through the support of my family and friends.  The process of researching for my posts and reflecting on what I have tasted has given me great enjoyment.  I hope you have enjoyed reading some of my posts.  Some of you have commented on posts or sent in emails.  I love getting feedback and encourage others to do that same.

Over the next week I will be tasting New Zealand Pinot Noirs with Shane and Stolpman Syrahs with Lou.  Over the short-term, I am currently working with Madd Design on a logo and business cards.  I am particularly excited for the Hogshead sites to debut the new look this fall!

Categories: Authors, Personal History

A Warm Welcome to Julie and Aaron

I would like to welcome Julie and Aaron as contributing authors to this blog!  I met my now sister-in-law and brother-in-law in the late 1990s when I first started working in Seattle.  Jenn introduced me to her brother David Aaron during one of their visits to Seattle.  Julie and Aaron subsequently moved to Sergy, France so that Aaron could work at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.  During the summer of 1999 I flew out to Switzerland so that I could vacation with Jenn, Julie, and Aaron.  For one adventure we all piled into their car and drove out to spend several days in Burgundy.

Aaron and Julie in front of crates of wine, Macon-Uchizy, 1999

Julie, Aaron, and their two daughters returned to Switzerland about one year ago.  They currently live in the village of Meyrin.  When they are not at home drinking the local wines of Switzerland they are visiting the Rhone, Beaujolais, and Burgundy.  Through their collective years living in France and Switzerland they have amassed interesting knowledge about wine.  They will be posting about the Swiss and French wines they encounter during their daily life.

David Aaron, James Aaron, and Jenn in Cave de Cordeliers, 1999

Bottles Purchased from Reid Wines, Bristol

Reid Wines was started by Charles Reid and joined by the great Bill Baker in 1980.    During the early 1990s the firm went into receivership because Charles spent 100 days per year shooting.  Charles was let go and David Boobbyer came on as a partner.  The firm changed its name to Reid Wines (1992) and subsequently won Wine Magazine’s “‘Fine and Rare’ Specialist Merchant of the Year 1992/1993.”

Winter 1992/1993, Reid Wines Ltd, Cover

In an earlier post I described our trip to buy wine from Bill Baker of Reid Wines.  It was the fall of 1992.  Apparently we bought three bottles of Claret together.  The Claret would be served at some dinner parties we had planned.  The 1970 La Lagune was drunk during April 1993 separate from the La Gaffeliere.

  • 1961 Chateau La Gaffeliere Naude for 38.50 Pounds Sterling. “Outstanding vintage.  “La Gaffeliere is somewhat of a bargain.”
  • 1970 Chateau La Lagune for 26.50 Pounds Sterling. “We are still managing to find parcels of wine from this great drinking vintage.”
  • 1971 Chateau La Gaffeliere Naude for 16.50 Pounds Sterling.  “Best in Saint Emilion and Pomerol.”

For my Thanksgiving dinner during November 1992 I bought:

  • 1985 Ampeau, Pommard for 18.50 Pounds Sterling. “Unquestionably the vintage of the 1980’s.”

And just to get something to try Andrew bought something interesting.  Here is the description from the catalog, “MARCHES: RED No-one seems very interested in this strange wine from the Vernaccia Rosso grape.  Give it a go!”:

  • 1990 Villa Ligi, Vernaculum for 5.95 Pounds Sterling.

I remember trying this wine, it smelled great but there was absolutely no taste in the mouth.  Strange indeed!

Winter 1992/1993, Reid Wines Ltd, Inside,

From the Introduction, “It is always pleasant to write an introduction when there is good news to related, especially at a time when the Government, the French and the weather seem to have conspired to deepen the gloom engendered by the longest recession since the second World War.  Firstly, we can report that Kate and Bill have produced the first Baker offspring.  Polly was born on 29 September.  She is following the family tradition of gaining weight every day and shows every intention of being as noisy as her father.”

Tasting Notes from My First Wine Tasting with the University of Bristol Wine Circle

Ed and Aaron drinking wine shortly after arriving at Bristol, 1992

I now know when it started.  That is, the night I fell in love with wine. It was roughly one month after I had arrived at Bristol when I attended the tasting conducted by Bill Baker.  I wrote about this night in an earlier post.  This means I have seriously drunk wine for 19.5 years! I have found all of my old tasting sheets from Bristol.  I have typed up the first one and scanned the tasting sheet.  I will eventually create an ancient tasting notes page where these old sheets will reside.

I must admit that my notes are rather sparse and I misspelled New Zealand.  My first tasting notes (below, in blue)  appear to have peaked at wine #3 and it looks like I rather enjoyed the GermanRiesling.  Perhaps my long-standing interest in Gigondas started that night!

Tuesday October 13th 1992
conducted by BILL BAKER

White Wines:
1 VIN DE PAYS DE COTES DE GASCOGNE Domaine de Rieux 1991 Grass
     New Zelan 6.90
     Australia, Dark Yellow, Aged in Oak Casks, Bite, 6.50
     * German, Soft, 6.50

Red Wines:
5 MORGON 1990 Gobet
     French 7.00
8 GIGONDAS 1985 Paul Joublet Aine

University of Bristol Wine Circle Tasting, 13 October 1992

Wine List for My 25th Birthday, October 1998

14 October 1998
Elizabeth Bernstein
The Alexis Hotel
92 Madison at First
Seattle, WA 98105
Dear Elizabeth,
I have dropped off 24 bottles of wine for my 25th birthday dinner party.  I only plan on opening 14-16 bottles of wine as discussed on the telephone.  Since I can not anticipate which dishes will be ordered, I planned for extreme situations.  Here is the list of wines I dropped off:

  1. Four bottles of 1989 Henriot Champagne
  2. Three bottles of 1997 Elena Walch, Gewurztraminer
  3. Three bottles of 1996 Paul Chapelle, Bourgogne Chardonnay
  4. Four bottles of 1990 Chateau Tour du Haut-Moulin
  5. Three bottles of 1991 Monticello, Jefferson Cuvee
  6. Two bottles of 1985 Chateau La Gurgue
  7. Two bottles of 1982 Chateau Canon de Brem
  8. Three bottles of 1983 Ramos-Pintos, Vintage Port

All of the Champagne and white wine should be chilled ahead of time.  The Champagne and white wines should be opened one bottle at a time, as required for that course. The red wines and vintage port should be left standing up so that the sediment may settle.  They should stored at an ambient temperature of less than 65 F.  I have attached a list of the wines that are to be offered with each course.  In addition, there are instructions for which wines require decanting and at what time.  When the entree course is near completion, I will decide how many wines for the cheese course will be required.
If there are any questions now or during the course of the dinner, please do not hesitate to ask me.  Thank you very much for your help in organizing this important dinner party.
James Aaron Nix-Gomez
7725 15th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115

Here is the invite to my birthday party.  My good friend William Harris created a limited series for me.  Back then he was a hard working interior design and artist.  Today he lives in New York City and is a hard working principal at Avrko and restaurator.

My 25th Birthday Invite, by William Harris, 2008