It wasn’t too long ago, in the scheme of things, when I met a man named Yancy Noll. He was the wine steward at a grocery store just steps from where my husband and I live and was one of those people who could make anyone smile. We got to know Yancy very well and he became a regular figure in my life and the lives of my husband and our friends. Every Saturday evening we would make our way down to the wine section of QFC for a free tasting. We would be greeted by Yancy’s grin and a quick-witted remark or two or ten. But then he’d get serious, bestowing upon us the virtues of a particular Rosé or Bordeaux with a certain flare only born of true passion. We’d always listen politely, but rarely did his wisdom resonate beyond memorizing what he deemed good or bad or respectable. We’d drink and laugh and smile and when we’d leave he’d say, “always a pleasure”. We saw Yancy at more than just wine tastings. There were the Friday night beer tastings and the almost daily trips through the wine section en route to get a loaf of bread or head of lettuce, always with pause to at least say hello, because a quick chat with Yancy always made for a brighter day. He quickly became a friend. On August 31st, 2012 Yancy’s bright light was extinguished. Driving home from work, an hour or so after we saw him, he was murdered. He was shot point blank through his car window, in an incident deemed by the press a “road rage shooting”. The experience was devastating, for lack of a stronger word. It was terrifying. It was enraging. And it was very difficult to even begin to deal with. I can’t imagine the pain felt by his family and those who knew him longer. It was clear in the weeks after the incident how loved he was. After the initial shock, my group of Yancy-worshipping friends came to the conclusion that we needed to take something positive out of this. We needed to love life like he did. We needed to bring light to other’s lives as he did. And we needed to learn about wine.
This blog is my attempt to follow in his footsteps. To demystify the world of wine, with the help of some good friends and those wedding-gift crystal glasses we never use.
Rest in Peace, Yancy, this one is for you.