The world lost a very special man this week. Someone with a passion for life, a passion for music and a passion for wine.
Patrick Vetter was a brilliant musician. He played the sexiest instrument of all, the saxophone, for the likes of Tony Bennett, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin and too many more to mention.
In me, he ignited my love of wine that continues to this day.
I remember his first recommendation: Villa Caffagio – a Chianti. I can’t remember the year, but it was delicious and $21.95 a bottle – a fortune compared to the basket-hugging Ruffinos, Black Tower or the $8 a gallon Gamay that my father kept under the kitchen bench for easy access. “Buy a case,” Patrick said.
I did and it was the start of my love affair with Italian wines.
Patrick taught me how to savour wine. Much the way he savoured life. He brought out those little scent bottles to teach me how to recognize the aromas in wine. And like authentic wine people, he always loved to share. Patrick’s wife Helen is my best friend, and whenever I was invited over for dinner (Patrick was also an incredible cook. Helen a master at take-out) he would make an incredible meal and be sure to pull out a special bottle for us to sample. He introduced me to Zenato Valpolicella Ripassa Superiore- one of my favourite wines to this day.
His generosity to his friends and family knew no bounds. Patrick even let me sing with his live band at his 50th birthday party. Those of you who know how badly I sing, will know just how generous that actually was.
Helen was the great love of his life. His muse. His best friend. They were soul mates. He used to tease her that if she didn’t make him laugh once a day, he might have to replace her. They kept each other laughing for 26 years….. and kept us laughing too. Patrick could hold court at a dinner party leaving us all in stitches, his comedic timing spot on.
But last Thursday, for the first time in his life, his timing was off. Way off. He passed away suddenly. Far too soon. Far too young. Leaving us with a big hole in our hearts.
I will remember him with love and feel blessed that he was part of my life, for at least a little while.
Grazie, my friend. I hope somewhere you are sipping the Super Tuscan that you so well deserve. You are loved by many and will be missed by all.