It's these times of the year that I think about my friend John. He and his brother started Allegro back in 1978, and Tim passed away in 2000. I never met Tim, but heard him speak at a meeting once. All I remember him saying, over and over again, was "Well, at Allegro it's a little different." How right he was.
I met John in April of 2001, and he was the most depressed human being I have ever encountered. His brother had passed away, and he was the last of his family surviving. He couldn't bring himself to finish the wines he was working on at the time. He could barely get out of his chair.
By fall, he and I were working together bringing in the 2001 harvest. He had come around the corner, and my sense was that he was enjoying harvest. He showed me how he made Nouveau, and we tasted the Beaujolais offerings from Aubin and Georges de Boeuf to see how well we did. It was--as John had always been--winemaking at its simplest and most pure.
For winemakers, the year doesn't really start in January. It starts in September, and our spring really starts in November when we can start to work on our "spring cleaning". This was my start as the second winemaker Allegro had ever had, and it was amazing to see how a guy who had been the master of wine here for twenty years gave up his control so readily. It was almost as if he knew that I--with only two commercial vintages under my belt--needed to be thrown into the fire, albeit with a safety net of his expertise.
He was right, and I thank him for it. When I was a kid, summer was my favorite season, but now autumn naturally is. And during this time, I always think back to John. Thanks, John. You'll be happy to know everything's all right, and the Nouveau will taste like Beaujolais again this year.