My cold has been gaining ground day by day, and today I was particularly sore-throaty and unthinking. I decided to make mulled wine. I was a bit surprised at how hard it was to get the cork out of the cheap Spanish red, but I finally did it, and dumped half the bottle into a saucepan with water and sugar and cinnamon and lemons and oranges.

Then I realized I had not opened the Protocolo but the 1996 St Henri Shiraz that Peter and Lucy Chubb gave us as a wedding gift, with instructions to open it on our tenth anniversary. The one I have been warning our cat-sitters away from, lo these many years.




It does marry beautifully with lamb, it turns out. Jeremy had made a gorgeous shepherd’s pie, and Jack made salad. Even mulled, the St Henri was sensational.

I am the world’s biggest dork.

Obligatory happy ending: I found a vintage wine store in Boston that had a few bottles left and ordered them for our actual tenth anniversary. But it will be hard to beat the anecdotal value of this particular bottle. Thanks, Peter and Lucy! It was a brilliant evening (and my sore throat is greatly soothed.)

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