The fun thing about having friends with two young children is that when they can't get a babysitter, they suggest coming over to their place instead, auberge espagnol style - i.e. I make the food and bring it, and they bring nice wines out of the cellar. Happy all around.
Guy said, on the phone, "I have an older Saint-Emilion. Not sure what it'll be like. It's called... hold on... Ausone. Do you think it'd be any good?"
NV Pannier Brut Sélection - this is my friends' house champagne, and it's nice, with a good yeasty mouthfeel and fairly discreet dosage.
Celery and celery root velouté.
2004 Jaboulet Crozes-Hermitage "Domaine de Thalabert" - Suave, discreet Crozes-Hermitage; a nice, light menthol touch that paired well with my cream of celery soup, which I had spiked with a bit of piment de Cayenne.
Blanquette de veau au paprika.
1996 Haut-Brion - On opening this a couple of hours earlier, I swooned. While not a Bordeaux fan, this was just so perfectly elegant, so seamless and yet uncommon, I was won over. Silky tannins and offhand length and complexity made it a pleasure, and it went well with my veal dish. I felt that it was at the right age, harmoniously on the cusp between youth and maturity, and well mellowed.
1989 Ausone - I was worried when I opened this at the same time as the Haut-Brion. First, the cork crumbled, and Guy, a former boyscout of course, had to use all of his skill to extract the thing without an ah-so and without so much as letting the smallest cork crumb fall into the wine. The nose was bright and sprightly, with that merlot-y right bank thing going on, but when I tasted it, there was a disconcerting dry leaf taste. We left it on the sideboard to do its Audouzing*. Well, a couple of hours later, after the Haut-Brion, it had blossomed and become absolutely voluptuous in the mouth. With some light red fruits and cigar box tertiary aromas, it was drinking beautifully.
* to Audouze, v.t.