I handed my lady companion neatly from the limousine at the entrance to one of New York cities finest and most exclusive restaurants. The doorman quietly greeted me and held open the stained glass door for the both of us. The Head Waiter noted our arrival and quickly approached with all the dignity of his kind, saying our table is prepared and waiting.
As we were being seated I gave the room a solid look for any other that might be a threat to our quiet dinner. As I did not see nor feel any of the others of our kind, I waited for my lady to seat herself then I joined her in relaxing in firm, warm dark leather and padding. The table had a pristine white cover, silver so polished it almost glowed, and glassware immaculate far beyond any other establishment could manage. The light is low, but not to where you can't see, and the music quietly playing, relaxing the nerves, but not preventing quiet conversation.
The head Waiter approached asking if I would like to review the wine list. I glanced at my companion and she just nodded for me to choose. I whispered my selection not even looking at the wine list. His only reaction to was to raise an eyebrow a fraction of an inch, while giving a short bow, stating he would return momentarily with the selected bottle. I knew it was there. I had handed it to the current owner's grandfather almost a century before for safe keeping.
It only took the Head Waiter a few minutes to return. In that time, I had allowed my mind to wander back to that light spring day. A 30 year old chardonnay was what I passed to the owner, asking him to hold it for me until such a time as I could return to claim it. The bottle was now well over a century in age. I had another at my home in Paris, so I knew it should still be in excellent form if properly kept.
He held out the bottle so that I could see the faded label. I smiled and nodded that it was the correct bottle and that he could continue with the wine presentation. He very gently eased off the wax seals, and then even more carefully extracted the cork. The cork pulled out without breaking nor did any sound come from the bottle at the removal. This was an excellent sign for the pleasant evening meal ahead.
The waiter and I continued the age old dance of the acceptance of the wine. He gently poured a dash in a wide brimmed snifter. He then carefully handed it to me for my examination of the vintage. I slowly swirled it and gave a slightly theatrical sniff, taking in the heady odor, smelling the sweet wine, with no hint of the bitterness that was a sign of vinegar. My lady just smiled at that and shook her head at what seemed a silly thing to do. I then tasted it, slowly allowing it to cross my lips, the smell and first taste mingling in a heady burst of pleasurable sensation. I ran it across my tongue, then swirled it across the pallet. This wine had aged even better than its sister bottles in France.