I have been a pretty good customer of Jacques and Hamptons Wine Shoppe for a bit so when Jacques decided to come to Florida for the holidays, he said that we should get together one evening over a bottle of 1986 Mouton that he would be bringing into town. Never one to turn down an opportunity to drink old first growths, I said "sure." Jacques called me regularly to ensure that things were still a "go" and said, "Oh, by the way, you can bring some friends along because I will be bringing two bottles." I made the dinner reservations at Capital Grille and invited two of my buddies and their wives to partake(@hlyterroir declined the invite because he was still recovering from having drunk a 2006 Shafer Hillside Select on the preceding Thursday.).
On the morning of the dinner, Jacques called and asked if I could direct him to someone at the restaurant because he wanted to go over and decant the wines prior to the dinner. Dinner was at 7. Fred and Laurie rode with us and we were the first to arrive. Jacques came in a little after and, as we were completing introductions, Jeff and Dee strolled in and completed the party. We were shown to a circular table in a comfy, cozy corner towards the back of the restaurant. This was the first time that I had met Jacques face to face, and the first time that any of my friends had spoken to him, but "many a friend is made over a bottle of wine" and we quickly settled down to comfortable conversation. Jeff launched the wine proceedings with a bottle of Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs NV and I followed in short order with a 1953 Remoissenet Vosne-Romanee Clos de Reas and a 1968 Vina-Valoria Rioja. These wines drunk beautifully with the Rioja being the more longer-lived of the two in the glass.
Jacques dragged himself dejectedly back to the valet stand to retrieve his car and, as he faded into the mist that enveloped the area, I thought to myself, there, but for the grace of God, go I.