It is with a very heavy heart that I say farewell to a beloved friend and colleague. His life was tragically taken too early and rather than sink into the doldrums surrounding his murder, I want to honor this vivacious, hilarious, confident, smart, and passionate friend.
Our paths first crossed (sometime in the late 90’s) when I picked up weekend shifts at Esquin Wine Merchants while I was working for the Washington Wine Commission. Our foundation was gelled with an instant brotherly/sisterly bond and he watched my back, guided me in what to do and what not to do. We frequently shared belly laughs (and those who knew him can attest to his infectious laugh), Indian food, amazing beer and wine. It became quite evident that I would need to practice saying no and meaning it when Yancy would come to me on a regular basis proclaiming “OMG, Jen, you’ve got to get this wine. This shit is amazing!” His philosophy was to buy 3, 6 or 12 bottles of a wine you really liked. Drink one immediately and the others in some sort of aged procession based on the quantity purchased.
Fast forward and countless speeches under his belt of how I needed to buy this one or that one. One day he had come to me with the same old story and I replied with something to the effect of “Zip it! I’m not falling for this Yancy. I need to save money”. His retort was “you’re making the biggest mistake of your life. You WILL regret not buying this wine and I won’t share any if you don’t get at least one bottle.” We both laughed and laughed because I finally stepped into the big leagues this time and purchased three bottles. Weeks later, like ‘em or not, the Wine Spectator came out and named this one of the top three wines in the world.
Well as luck would have it, I still have a bottle in the cellar. In the coming weeks a friend has organized a few industry colleagues to gather for a little tribute and bring a special bottle to honor our dear friend. I know what I’ll be pouring. You can bet your bottom dollar that I will toast my spirited cohort and recall many fond stories as I relish in how precious our time really is.