Want to give Hermione a run for her money in the know-it-all field? Simply play the quiz by commenting on this post with your answers at any time over the weekend. All comments with answers will be screened until the answer sheet is posted on Monday morning EDT. On Monday, all quizzlings with the correct answers will receive a pretty banner to prove their quiz prowess. Ready? Set? Play!
Match the quotes to the story titles without picking the red herring titles:
In Vino by pigwidgeon37 (SS/HG/LM)
At the Beach by chivalric55
By Any Other Name by duniazade
Of Secrets and Wine by sassy_cissa
Nectar of the Gods by solas_divided (SS/HG/LM)
Some People Like Lectures by blueartemis07
Duel at Dusk by duniazade
Where in the World by sandlappershell
Social Intercourse by eoforyth
Soul Searching by Quillusion
Heart Over Mind by regann
Days of Wine and Wizards by madeleone (SS/HG/LM)
1. Last night, he had dreamed of the Dark Lord and had woken up screaming for the first time in over eight years.
Admittedly, it had been an awful dream full of shadows and fear, full of pain and blood. Luckily, he dreamed this particular dream rarely nowadays. Usually, he slept peacefully; maybe that was the reason that it had been an even scarier experience.
Now, towards the end of the night, he sat on the bedside, tired and tense, and decided that it was time for a break. Quite obviously, he had neglected his needs for too long, had worked too hard. By now, after years on this island, he knew that it never was a good idea to do so.
He needed a holiday. A thorough one, not just a few days away from his vineyard. At least two weeks at the beach. The last time he had been there was… Yes. Nearly a year ago. And as it was late autumn; work was easy. He could afford to leave the vines to his men.
Right then. First thing in the morning, he would ask Maria to look after his house. Pedro, her husband, was more than capable of taking care of his precious plants. He could leave for a while, and he would come back refreshed.
2. Unfolding it, the professor found a disconcerting number of lines penned in the same handwriting as the address, the letter signed with a flourished “H. Granger” at its end.
Although I doubt that you will agree with the sentiment, allow me to begin by wishing you a Happy Christmas and extending my hope that you have found it as enjoyable as I have thus far. In appreciation not only for your assistance during my term at Trinity but also for allowing me to assist you during my recent stay at Hogwarts -- I am certain that you have realized how much I enjoy working like a house-elf -- I have sent you a very nice bottle of wine, which I’m sure that you’ll find more palatable than your cousin’s Chianti. While you have told me that your prefer your wines dry, I daresay that you will still enjoy the bottle I’ve sent, even though it’s a dessert wine. For your information, it’s actually Vino Santo from a small but very reputable winery in Tuscany. According to the owner, this particular bottle is from the best batch of the last one-hundred years; she suggests that while it goes well with anything, she particularly likes to pair it with fresh marzolino cheese and toasted Italian bread.
Of course, I freely admit that I offer this gift to you with an ulterior motive: before I left Hogwarts, I did a bit of research and found that while there are a number of magically-run wineries in Europe that they are very few and very specialized. In my opinion, none of these wineries’ products can compare to this Vino Santo. I dare you to tell me that you don’t prefer this Muggle wine to any of its wizarding counterpart. Simply consider it the first step in overcoming your tendency toward snobbish ethnocentricity.
As for the wine, it’s heavenly and very sweet; if you can, save a glass for the headmaster -- he’ll love it.
Happy Christmas, H. Granger
“Wasn’t it nice of Miss Granger to think of you at the holidays?” remarked the headmaster as he glanced over the contents of the parchment which Snape had handed him. Meanwhile, the professor had removed the bottle from its cushioned box, spelling away the unsightly crate and its straw packing. Holding the dark bottle in his hands, Snape studied its cream-colored label which was decorated in an antique-looking golden filigree design while its information was stated in bold black lettering, some calligraphic and some plainly printed.
“I’m not certain that ‘nice’ is the correct adjective,” he answered, still deciphering the calligraphy. It read that the “small but reputable” winery was called Artemisia della Agrotera, and that the vino santo was imbottigliato all'origine -- estate-bottled at the vineyard in Tuscany. “Ethnocentricity, indeed -- troublesome creature.”
3. There’s no doubt about Lucius being rich; it is also manifestly true, however, that Lucius would never, ever say no to the possibility of getting richer. Whether legal or illegal, Lucius Malfoy has never and will never decline a chance to make money, which is most probably the reason why he and his ancestors became rich in the first place.
Creating a 1978 Châteauneuf du Pape at practically zero cost, with a 99-percent profit margin, is a prospect so dazzlingly glorious that Lucius will be embracing it without thinking twice. He may think once, quickly and deviously as he is wont to, because a credible back story will have to be established.
Hermione only half-listens to Severus’s charmingly inarticulate rendition of the recipe.
4. “I have decided to end this and settle our quarrel where it began, in France.
“I won the first contest in Chinon, but you had the upper hand in Orange. I defeated you in Saint-Emilion, but you bested me in Ampuis. We got even in Nuits Saint-Georges, and the less said about the disaster in Beaujeu, the better.”
He paused in bitter recollection before resuming.
“The moment has come for a final decision. For the last time, are you ready?”
She nodded again, and he moved to the other side of the table.
She heard the soft splash of liquid poured into the first recipient, filling it to a third of its capacity. It would be quite sufficient; if she made a mistake...
A tense silence followed in which, guided only by the memory of the sound, she found the stem of the glass.
As her fingers closed around it, the dark man audibly held his breath.
Slowly, deliberately, she raised the glass to her nose, sniffed, swirled and sniffed again.
5. "It's not that funny," she said defensively.
"It's bloody hilarious," Draco countered, reaching for the bottle and lifting it in his hand. "So, Dumbledore wanted you to have some of this, eh?" He turned the bottle in his hands, his fair brows lifting. "Well, I can tell you one thing for sure."
"What? That it's red?" Hermione said with a giggle.
Draco rolled his eyes. "Very cute. No, you can tell that this is from a wizarding winery."
Hermione's eyes widened, and she stared at the label. "What? How?"
Draco turned the bottle and pointed to a runic symbol on the back of the label, so small that it was difficult to read but unmistakably there.
"This symbol," he said. "See it? All wines specifically made for wizards have to register through their Ministries of Magic. During Elizabeth the First's reign, there was an agreement between the magical and wizarding worlds about the amount of wine that Parliament would allow to be sold to Muggles. It grew to cover all of the countries in Europe. Each country has their own symbol. This one? Means the winery is in Germany. From there the bottles had to be individually numbered. The tradition has been maintained even though I doubt there are many who understand the source."
"Now we just need to figure out why Dumbledore wanted me to have this bottle of wine," Hermione said with a sigh.
"Well, there's only one way to know what Dumbledore was about. You need to go to the winery and ask some questions," Harry added.
"And just exactly what are you suggesting?" Hermione asked. "That I burst into the winery and demand to see Severus Snape?"
"As amusing as I find that visual," Draco laughed, "if Severus doesn't want to be found, you can guarantee that he's only told people who will not give him up. I think strong-arm tactics wouldn't get you very far."
"Well it's a completely moot point since I've no clue where to begin to look for this winery. Other than somewhere in Germany – which is a fairly large country."
6. She looked hesitant. "I don't know. I have a lot to do before this weekend and—"
Just the opening he was looking for!
"This weekend? I didn't realize we had a Hogsmeade trip planned," he replied, feigning complete innocence.
She sighed, looking even more agitated than before. "Oh, we don't. I'm just taking a short vacation."
His brow arched further in interest. "Oh? Where will you be going?"
"Italy," she blurted, instantly looking as if she wanted to kick herself for saying so. Finally, she gave in with a heavy exhale. "They have an annual wine tasting festival there. It's become a hobby to me – wine tasting. I've always wanted to go and after what happened... it seems like a good idea."
She looked momentarily confused and slightly horrified, as if she couldn't understand why she was telling him all this. But the crease between her brows instantly vanished and she was her prim self again.
"But that is none of your business!"
Lucius allowed a ghost of a grin to haunt his face when responding elegantly, "Of course not, but for curiosity sakes, where would this wine tasting take places? It sounds terribly fascinating."
"It's taking place in a small vineyard on the coast of Italy..." she trailed off, frowning again.
"Does this place have a name?" he prompted, hoping to catch her off guard for more answers.
"Amalfi Coast." Again, she seemed to answer his question without a single thought, winding up with that impatient pinch to her lips as if she were mentally scolding herself.
Lucius didn't try to press his luck. Whatever else information he required, he'd find himself through other venues.
"It sounds like it will be lovely," he told her sincerely. "I hope you enjoy yourself."
7. The next morning, Hermione came down dressed in a pair of old jeans, a comfy Irish fisherman’s sweater, and dragonhide boots.
“Is this good, Harry?”
Harry looked at her carefully. “Yes, perfect. Those boots look Muggle enough to pass.” He held his arm out to her. “Ready?”
Hermione took his arm. “Ready!”
Harry turned into his Apparition. He landed them softly in a grassy field next to a vineyard.
“Where are we, Harry?”
“You are in Italy, Miss Granger, near Tuscany. This is my small vineyard. The big companies here joke that I am basically making home-made wine, which is basically true. It is how I started, anyway.”
“Professor Snape! You look well. I just wanted to apologize for leaving you there so long, but I thought you were dead, and then there was no portrait, and we ran...”
Severus Snape smiled, a small smile, but one nonetheless and reached over and placed his index finger on Hermione’s lips. “Shush, Miss Granger. You did what you needed to do, what you were fated to do. The extraordinary thing was when you came back for me. Now, I am no one’s professor anymore; just call me Severus. Would you like a tour?”
Harry and Hermione looked at each other then grinned. “Yes!”
8. The warm Argentinean sun beamed down on the figures working in the orchard. It was a beautiful summer day, well suited to beginning the harvest of fragrant peaches. Later in the summer, apples and pears would be harvested from the modest orchards that nestled in the western part of the Rio Negro province. A good portion of the crop was crated up and shipped off to markets both domestic and worldwide. This provided a good living for the handful of people living on this remote plantation. The rest of the crop, the bruised and damaged fruits, held a special interest for the owners of Dos Mariposas fruit plantation and winery. From these fruits, so often overlooked and thrown away, were made the most delightful of cordials and wines. They were hand crafted and nurtured 'til ready for bottling, then sent out into the world a transformed creation.
Severus Snape wandered through the warehouse that held the small number of wooden barrels full of Dos Mariposas' finest and oldest vintages. As he mused on the thoughts that ran though his mind, he systematically checked different casks for readiness. He worked his way through to a small rack at the rear of the room. This one held only fifty small casks, each filled with aged brandy flavoured with the fruits of the plantation he co-owned. After tasting a sample from the test cask, he drew another small serving and quickly made his way out of the warehouse to the main house and office. A rare smile graced his face as he thought of the excitement that his wife would show when she tasted the results of their first attempt at flavouring and aging brandy.
When he reached the office, he found Hermione staring out of the French windows overlooking the lush patio garden. It wasn't until he drew by her side that he realized she wasn't enjoying the view; she was crying silently as she stared into the distance.
Severus quickly placed the small glass on the nearby desk and gathered Hermione into his arms, rocking her slowly as he whispered, "What's wrong, my love?"
Hermione turned into his chest and began to sob. After a period of tears and questions, she finally calmed down enough to answer.
9. "In the early days of the school, the four Founders encouraged celebration at times such as holidays and special occasions, and they believed very strongly that such celebrations are even more important in dark times. We have recently emerged from just such a time- much as the Founders emerged from the long dark of an ancient wizard's war to found this school as a place where witches and wizards could learn both their arts and the wisdom to wield them. It is only fitting, I think, that we honor our own heritage, and our own achievements, with the resurrection of the Yule feast." He twinkled at the crows again.
"It is said that Rowena Ravenclaw, who was a great vintner, had a grapevine that grew in the northernmost greenhouse in soil specially brought from some secret location whose identity she would never divulge. Every year, the fruit of that vine was pressed and used to make a special wine which she would only serve at Yule. The wine is said to have made whole the hearts of all who drank it- and as she was the first Potions mistress at Hogwarts, I am inclined to believe it.
"One bottle of Rowena Ravenclaw's Yuletide Reserve remains, having lain hidden in a vault in the cellars these thousand years. If it were a Muggle wine, certainly it would be long since gone by. But it is a witch's creation, with powerful charms on it, and I have no doubt that the cork is as fresh as the day it was put in."
He raises his hand and gestures to the table before him, where our reverent eyes fall on a dusty bottle whose glass is inky black, and I briefly wonder if the bottle is made of volcanic glass.
"This is Rowena Ravenclaw's last bottle, and I intend to share it with you tonight."
10. “Lucius, you needn't go on with this. These memories are clearly painful to you.”
“As were yours of your parents,” he responded solemnly. “I would like to continue.
“My mother died when I was young, and I spent a lot of time here at the chateau with Claude and Louisa. I loved it; it was my favorite place on earth. As a boy, I promised Grand-pére that I would honor the old ways he had taught me and that someday when I grew up I would restore the Malfoy vineyards to their former glory, vintner-elves and all. But as I grew older, my interest in an old man's dream faded away, and like many young men, the one thing I craved the most was my father's approval.
“Augustus had been a follower of Gellert Grindelwald, and he paid the ultimate price. He died during the battle in which Grindelwald was defeated by Dumbledore. Afterward, the Malfoy family lost a good portion of their fortune as well as prestige in wizarding society. My father later sought to restore that by following yet another Dark Wizard in his rise to power. In an attempt to gain my father's esteem, on my eighteenth birthday, I agreed to this—”, Lucius said as he pulled up his sleeve, revealing his Dark Mark, now faded but still easily recognizable. “It was unequivocally the worst mistake of my entire life. Within days, Grand-pére was dead, and I was convinced that it was because of me. That having heard of what I'd done, he died of a broken heart.”
Lucius had paced behind his desk during the telling of this final part. He placed both hands on his desk and, leaning forward, stared straight at her as he said, “So, in answer to your earlier question, Hermione: No, I have no desire whatsoever to return to England. My home is here at the chateau, and it always will be.” He slumped down into his leather desk chair as if he were exhausted.