In honour of our unique Wine and Words Weekend held in Paarl over the weekend of October 5 – 7, 2012, the theme of  the September 2012 competition was distinctly vinous. The winning entry will be featured on the label of a brand new Allaboutwriting/10 Chapters wine.

Write a story in 150 words that features a fine, but unnamed South African wine, the wine master’s daughter, and a thwarted lover.

We chose two winners – a red and a white.

The winner of the Red category is Chantal Dawtrey .

Open when matured

The wine was ruined. The entire vat of wine was destroyed.

I loved him. I really thought I loved him. His smile, his clothes, his shoes. A girl loves a good pair of shoes. But I loved the wine more.

When he said that it was too young, too tart, too unpredictable, I knew he had to go. I sent him packing with an empty bottle and a note inside that said “Open when matured.” He threw it in the sea.

I woke, bobbing dreams still fresh in my mind, the taste of wild berries on my lips, to the earthquake yell of my father. Wiping the stain from my mouth and my heart, I flew to his side. The vat was open, exposed, mourning. Floating on the top was a fine leather shoe, with a fine rubber sole, inside it a few desperate grains of sand.

And the winner of the White category is Angela van Schalkwyk

Father tilted the glass towards the light: his 2012 Chardonnay – the colour deep, golden.

We swirled the wine, savouring the aroma.

“Ah, smell,” his aquiline nose in the glass. “Pierre outdid himself … peaches, lime, nuttiness.”

***

Pierre … that day … His bed, a world of its own. I forgot everything. The setting sun came as a surprise. It painted the Drakenstein mountains red, and when I turned from his kiss, they were black against an indigo sky.

“You go back to Bordeaux, your family … next week,” I murmured against his neck. He said nothing. I turned away, faced the wall: “I don’t want to see you again after tonight.”

He stretched across to the CD player. Edith Piaf’s voice, defiant, filled the room … ‘No, no regrets’.

***

I rolled the wine round my mouth. “Dad, what will you call it?”

“Pierre named it  – No Regrets.

Special mention goes to Marilyn de Villier’s neat piece of female revenge that she called Squashed 

Elizabeth leaned against the wall, gulping air into her burning lungs.

“Shit, I’m unfit,” she gasped. “That was great. We gotta do this again. We can now that bastard is out of my life.”

She dropped her squash racquet, and puddled onto the pale pine floor of the court, grimacing up at Belinda, her best, best friend forever (despite her mother’s disapproval) long before James had swept her off her feet and into his bed – his oh, so crowded bed.

“Here,” Belinda rummaged in her kitbag and produced a little bottle of wine and a corkscrew.

“Belinda!” Elizabeth gasped. “That’s the dessert wine my dad won all those prizes for. I gave it to James for his 21st. He was keeping it for our engagement.”

“Never gonna happen, Lizzy. Cheers!” Belinda pulled the cork, took a swig and handed over the bottle. “Yuk,” she grimaced. “It’s sooo sweet!”

– and Charmaine Pauls’ lovely series of double entendres in The Tasting

His footsteps echo down the parted barrels. She gets drunk on the sound. Bottles breathe on the table as she holds hers.

He lifts the opaque Merlot.

“Tight, meaty, earthy,”says her father’s new winemaker. “Mouth offers layers of bittersweet chocolate, powerful blackberries.”

“Hedonist, wouldn’t you say?”

“Isn’t that what you’d want in a modern red?”

She twirls her glass. “I, myself, am a classic blend girl.”

“Intense, mouth-filling beauty with leather, black plum and licorice aromas?” He tilts his head. “The palate is plush, creamy and packed with vanilla and kirsch. That kind of girl?”

She wets her lips. “A ripe and ready red.”

He frowns. “Are we still on the same year?”

“1998.”

“I’m a Merlot man.”

“Pity.”She fingers the embossed label. “Because the blend is to drink sooner than later.”

He hears her steps as they melt into the wallpaper of dusty bottles.

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