by Fred McMillin
for November 4, 1998
A Remarkable Man, A Remarkable Wine
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 Merlot, Carneros, Napa Valley
Clos Pegas Winery, Calistoga, CA.
Vineyards—250 acres in Carneros and the northern
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
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.
More articles by
Welcome to WineDay, the electronic
Gourmet Guide's daily update. Monday through Thursday,
WineDay presents a wine profile. Then on Fridays we present
the Winery of the Week to take you through the weekend.
Anthony Dias Blue's
Salad and Wine
A Nouveau Month