Tir Na Cali has a landing page here.
The end of this didn’t really seem to end for me, but I’m not sure what else to do with it, either
“Fruity, with just a hint of tar.”
Onyx enjoyed the blind taste testings at the smaller competitions the best. She could put on her best part-of-the-furniture expression and simply listen while people talked over her. If her Lord was in the room, of course, people watched their words, minded their descriptions, even around a minor lord like her master.
But when they were facing simply a row of slave vintners, the tasters felt no such need to be careful, mindful, or even polite. And the things one learned when people who had been tasting wine all day stopped being polite were… interesting. Often educational.
“Isn’t this in the fruit wine category?” one younger taster frowned. “I can’t taste anything but oak and ashes.”
“Ah,” an older matron answered, smirking and reaching for the boy’s glass. “I bet I know who that is. They have the same problem every year.”
Onyx didn’t smile, of course, but inwardly, she was giggling. She knew that one, too. Their vintner, a freed slave, was an arrogant punk who never took advice. Next to her, his assistant was trying not to squirm. Maybe she should talk to her Lord about buying the poor girl; she had a good feel for the wine and didn’t deserve her boss.
“Ah!” That was the third taster, sipping the purple wine that was Onyx’s offering from her master’s odd fruit. “This is… interesting.”
It was her turn to try not to squirm. Interesting could mean so many things.
“Interesting,” the woman repeated. “Sweet, with a nice oaky note and… boysenberry, I think. Nice.” She looked up at the three of them waiting, three very nervous slaves whose livelihood depended on her words. She couldn’t know which of them had worked on this wine, but her eyes landed on Onyx anyway. “Nice. Very nice.”
Onyx relaxed, her head bowed to hider her smile, as the others tasted her offering. “Cocoa nibs,” the boy exclaimed, smiling, and, “…campfire?” the older woman exclaimed. As she had expected, the color, and the strange fruit, brought out what they expected to taste: success at last.
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