by Fred McMillin
for November 4, 1998


A Remarkable Man, A Remarkable Wine

Jan Schrem

The Man—The meteoric rise of Jan Shrem...

Born in Columbia.
Moved to Jerusalem.
Moved to New York, working as messenger boy in the daytime, finishing high school at night.
Political science scholarship at U. Of Utah.
Graduate school at UCLA.
Established technical publication juggernaut in Japan, which expanded to France and Italy.
Study enology at U. Of Bordeaux.
Hired the legendary Andre Tchelistcheff to jumpstart his brand new Calistoga winery.

Jan's wines receive critical praise within a few years. For example, take the 1989 Merlot. The San Francisco Examiner's Jim Wood called it "an exceptionally fine wine." The distinguished Anthony Dias Blue found "bright cherry fruit with lovely balance; elegant and complex." My hard-bitten Scott's Panel just tasted the 1996...

Clos Pegase

The Wine

1996 Merlot, Carneros, Napa Valley
Clos Pegas Winery, Calistoga, CA.
Vineyards—250 acres in Carneros and the northern Napa Valley.
Winery Features—Striking architecture, large cave filled with art treasures, lectures on the history of wine and related art by the proprietor...a GREAT visit.
Price of the Merlot—$22.50
Rating—The panel rated it BEST MERLOT TASTED THIS YEAR!! Case closed.


I stole the "meteoric" phrase from none other than Jan Shrem, who some years ago wrote me: "In the short time I have known you, I have witnessed your meteoric rise as a wine historian and lecturer." Since flattery will get you everywhere, I did recuse myself from this Merlot balloting.

Credits—Much of the biographical information is from "The Wine Atlas of California," by J. Halliday.

Note—For more about the winery, see the June 11, 1997 WineDay titled," The Day Pegase Beat the French."

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.



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