I have laughed and cried (Monk & Mindy), have been mesmerised (Awakening) and touched (Dead Poet Society) by, and definitely have gotten drunk through Robin Williams.
I am very sad by his passing. Like many, I grew up watching him. When I was much younger, I love his comedy. When I got older, I admire his serious sensitivity without losing his unique sense of humour and creative wits. For many years, he battled with depression, an illness that cannot be underestimated. Despite of that, one of his many moments of brilliance and clarity, he purchased a vineyard in the Mayacamas Mountains area of Napa and Sonoma Valley in 2000.
Appropriately known as Villa of Smiles (Villa Sorriso), it is a 640-acre Napa ranch, of which 18.4 acres are planted with vine of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Although no wines were produced directly from the grapes of these vines, they have found their way to Robert Craig Cellars’ Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon and Affinity blend for 20 years. I have been working with Robert Craig Cellars’ wine for about 10 years, and it is comforting to know I have savoured some of his smiles and laughter that he has shared on this land, and been intoxicated by his spiritual presence of grace and gentleness.
The property was put up for sale again early this year. Maybe it was purely a business investment, maybe he found beauty in the land, maybe just maybe. But with all that he has been so well-known and well-loved, I will remember him through Villa Sorriso, maybe an opportunity to walk through the vineyard like he probably once did.
Rest in Peace Robin Williams, you are now in the front seat.
When my brother said that I have to wake up at 330am yesterday morning I asked: FOR WHAT??
He said calmly, we were going to pick abalone in Sonoma Coast. He said I have to go since I am here.
So I sort of dragged myself out of bed to meet Henry (my brother’s good friend) and his wife and we drove, an hour to Sonoma Coast.The road there was long and winding and I was sort of drifting in and out in the back seat. But when we got to the secret spot for abalone (8 inch big), I woke up and began to soak in the sun rise of Sonoma Coast. Henry’s wife took us to another secret spot when I witnessed this magical sight where the fog rises up from the pacific rolling into Sonoma along the Russian River. I was mesmerized. I stood at the coast at awe and told myself: this is so worth the 330am morning call. And greatly appreciate the reason that I love Sonoma wines.
Photo credit to my brother who used my camera and took this picture as I stood in the midst of the fog.
Wineries are always most proud of the wines that they made and eager to share with you the fruit of their achievement. When i visited Harlan Estate yesterday afternoon, I was most surprised when Don offered us a glass of Krug Champagne as we were mesmerized by in the incrediable view of Napa Valley from the winery. It was an impressive introduction and definitely memorable.
I am not particularly fond of Krug because of a unsavory experience with a representative of Krug a few years ago. He (Krug Representative) may not know, but I thought he was rather rude. Hence since then, I have always try my best to avoid Krug. But an exception was made for this occasion, and I had just one glass. Although the visit to Harlan was very special, and I will share it here another day, I thought this is a good start to my visits in Napa and Sonoma.
This has been a week of Pinot Noir for me, and I can’t help remember a small dinner gathering with Chin, Jon and the VP of Flowers Vineyard at Long Beach Seafood. The night didn’t started out right because the seafood restaurant offered us those small round Libby wine glasses to use and still wanted to charge SGD40 per bottle corkage. I refused the wine glasses and went to a friend’s restaruant nearby to borrow some Riedel. Although we were introducing the iconic Singapore cuisine of Chilli Crab, Cereal Prawn and Black Pepper Crab to my oversea guest, it was the Pinot Noir from Sonoma (Flowers 2007 Andreen Gale Pinot Noir), Carneros (Etude 1997 Carneros Pinot Noir) and New Zealand (Dry River 2003 Pinot Noir) that shone brightly and etched elegantly into my memory that I am reminiscing now.