I have received some questions about the Winehog and the Winehog “organization,” and in these somewhat strange times I figured why not explain how and why I work.
Me: Steen Öhman
As you have possibly discovered, my name is Steen Öhman. I was born in Denmark in the awful wine year of 1965 – my age is therefore 55 (yes, I’m that old).
The name Öhman originates in Finland, from where my father originally came, and where a large part of my family still lives. So I am 50% Danish, 30% Finnish, 10% Burgundian (wink)…and the last 10% is missing currently.
Before I began to develop the Winehog blog I worked in banking from 1986 to 1993. I am a macroeconomist with a degree from the University of Copenhagen. I then changed careers into research and advertising, and stayed in this business from 1993 to 2016 – when I figuratively moved to the cellars of Burgundy (see my full Linkedin here).
The Winehog blog was launched in the summer of 2011, nine years ago. The blog has gradually expanded, and became a subscription site in March 2016, after a test in 2015.
Why not free?
The subscription payments are my main source of income. This is hard work, but I cannot complain, as I have created a job from this wonderful hobby. And while viruses and other bumps in the road are making things difficult for a small operation like mine, I do appreciate each and every moment of this crazy project. Thanks!
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Winehog: Yes, it’s really me
The Winehog is a one-man-band … almost. Apart from myself, I have help only from a proof-reader for the site, who works to help me get my English in order. He tries hard and relentlessly, but I am both stupid and stubborn – so blame me, please.
Programming, design and other IT are done by the Winehog himself. I am trying hard to develop, extend, and improve what we have.
Customer service and accounting also fall to the Winehog in person, and I would really like to thank you for your understanding and patience. I try to reply fast, and solve any problem even faster.
Articles, text, photos, tastings, and travels – this is also the Winehog himself, and this is my greatest pleasure (most of the time).
Collins Corner is the only guest writing I have on Winehog and this is the work of my old friend Cornelius Robert Collins .. very much appreciated – check out Collins Corner.
While I do have a lot to do, I love all of the different roles described above; in particular, customer service is a valuable and rewarding task.
Why did you start the blog?
This is a funny story. In 2011 I was invited for a tasting in Burgundy by a vigneron who was having Clive Coates over to taste the estate’s wines.
The vigneron thought that since he was going to open a goodly number of bottles, he might as well invite some friends to join the Coates tasting. So we did. And we had not only a tremendous tasting, but also the privilege of meeting Clive Coates live.
This occasion and opportunity made me think, and I decided to start a blog to commemorate tastings like this in the future.
So in fact, I began writing my blog thanks to Clive Coates.
This is also a possibility to pay a heartfelt tribute to Clive Coates for all the fine work he has done for Burgundy … chapeau.
What got me into wine?
My introduction to fine wine was Bordeaux, and the first years of my wine education were spent using my limited funds to taste good claret, mainly from the 1980s. It was great fun, but I was not seduced or enchanted by a single bottle until 1990, when I enjoyed an ethereal example of Chateau Palmer 1978. A good friend – and fellow student – brought this bottle from his small collection, and to this day I can recall the explosion of aromas that cascaded from the bottle and overwhelmed my small student quarters. The room was filled with the most complex, mature claret notes. It was a revelation, to be honest.
My destiny was set, stuck in a large format bottle it seems, whereas my friend got tied to the university as a professor. Today I rarely have that same out-of-body experience and delight, even when opening much better wines than the 1978 Palmer – my first true vin d’émotion!
The first emotional Burgundy I tasted
One of the few disadvantages of tasting numerous good bottles is that it takes more and more to impress me and send me into orbit in utter delight and exaltation.
For me, quality is very important. But a wine’s ability to thrill, delight, and offer hedonistic pleasure is what separates the hogs from the dogs, so to speak.
I have therefore chosen a wine that gave me one of the greatest hedonistic experiences I ever had during my travels in Burgundy. The scene was Lameloise in Chagny, and the year was 1999 – back in the days when wine was more affordable (around 1200 French francs paid) and, importantly, possible to find. It was a large dinner with plenty of good wines, and a friend insisted on tasting one more bottle from Henri Jayer – the third of the meal. It was his Cros Parantoux 1988, and the bouquet of this wine still stands out as perhaps the most beautiful I have ever encountered – maturing back then, with cool and transparent red fruit and an explosion of spices. Not a dense and voluptuous wine – cool fruit, fine acidity, and tannins – it was more classic. It was not what some, or even I, would call the perfect wine. It was certainly not your garden-variety 100-point wine. But it was a true, tremendous, vin d’émotion.
I have been on a quest to duplicate this experience ever since, as the rather cool, effortless lightness and display of terroir and complexity really are what I have come to value in a Burgundy.
Does the Winehog enjoy other wines?
Yes, I do, and while there are certain grapes I really don’t like, I am otherwise relatively open-minded (some would say otherwise, I know).
I really adore old-school Mosel Rieslings from the years before global warming elevated their sweetness. So I will end this article by saluting Wilhelm Haag: a truly great personality, winemaker, and ambassador for the Mosel region. #1491 – thanks, Wilhelm.
Thanks to all:
The vignerons who allow me to visit, and who make the wines; the readers for subscribing and sharing this hobby with me; and last but not least, thanks to the people of Burgundy for allowing me to enjoy your landscape, your wines, and your food – alongside your hospitality.
Lastly thanks to my Old Danish Wine Friends for tastings, housing in Vosne and transport to and from Vosne … greatly appreciated.
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