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Of Wine and Walsh

Posted on 24 May 2015 @ 3:55am by Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh

Mission: History
Location: Multiple
Timeline: 2370-2372

<2369, Earth, France, Burgundy, Vosne-Romanée, Wine Vineyards >

Terry was fourteen years old when the move to Burgundy, France occurred. His dad received new orders to report as the NCIOC of the 3rd Marine Battalion. So Terry had to get used to another school and make new friends. He was really good at that part. But then, most teenagers are. During the summer, one of his new friend’s dad took them on a personal tour of his workplace…the wine vineyards surrounding the village of Vosne-Romanée and the Domaine. Terry was awestruck by the hectares and hectares of grapevines. His friend’s dad told them that this vineyard produced unforgettable wines that combined power and softness.

At the end of the tour, the dad took them to view a wine tasting. The boys were obviously too young to experience the event, but they watched and learned the ins and outs of what good wine was as compared to exquisite wine. Terry started collecting information about different wines, how wines were made, and all things associated with the subject. He read where one man had said that among the 100 wines which it is necessary to taste before dying, three of the first ten would come from the Domaine of Romanée Conti. Terry then made it his mission to study all he could about the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

It would still be years away before he could put all of his accumulated knowledge to good work. During that time, he learned that Domaine de la Romanée-Conti was the world’s most expensive wine. He started saving after reading the following excerpt from an article on the Romanée-Conti.

“The scarcest, most expensive - and frequently the best - wine in the world ... If you can lay your hands on a case - and that is a big 'if' - you would have to pay an extremely high price for a young vintage, double or triple for a wine in its prime. ... This is the purest, most aristocratic and most intense example of Pinot Noir you could possibly imagine. Not only nectar: a yardstick with which to judge all other Burgundies.”

After a couple of years, Terry contacted his friend’s dad with a question on the age of wine and it’s consumption. The message Terry got back was very helpful. “It is unusual for even the best Bordeaux to last more than 50 years, and 200 years is beyond any wine's limit,” he said. He continued, “Ancient wines are rather like old stamps, something to be collected, horded but never used, and they command such high prices not because of their utility but because of their scarcity and consequent appeal to collectors.” Terry decided right then that he was not going to be a collector, but a connoisseur of fine wines. And his pet wine was to be the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

<2372, Earth, France, Burgundy, Vosne-Romanée, Wine Vineyards >

Terry had finished Starfleet Academy’s flight school back at San Francisco. It was nice to have a few days of leave on Earth. Especially with what happened almost a few years ago still etched in his memory. He planned to do a little wine shopping in France and go back to see his parents. He’d learned that the best wine in the world was a Burgundy called Domaine Romanée-Conti. A wine connoisseur once explained it like this, “Bordeaux is more linear and straightforward, whereas Burgundy is more elusive and sensuous. Bordeaux is Bach, Burgundy is Mozart.” These would be very special bottles that he would keep for those very special occasions. If any of those ever turned up.

He set the basket down that his favorites in it. "Guess that'll be all," he said to the Frenchman behind the counter. "Oh, I almost forgot, do you have any Domaine Romanée-Conti?"

The owner looked at him, astonished. "You have very expensive tastes, Monsieur," he said. "You realize that takes decades to mature and is extremely expensive."

"I know, what have you got?"

"Perhaps I have two bottles at twenty-six years that I am willing to sell...maybe three for a good price." The old man was an absolute salesman. Terry laid it all out on the counter. He’d been saving for several years for these.

Terry put the carefully packed container under the basket of other wines he bought. Counting the three expensive ones, Terry had five bottles. The Domaine Romanée-Conti would only be opened for an extra special occasion only. He headed back to his hotel and made preparations for the return to Frisco.

<2372, Earth, San Francisco, Walsh home, 1215>

Terry’s visit with his parents was going well. He went into a little more depth about his last assignment and his transfer. At which point his dad, an old-school Sergeant Major, said, “So, you’re doing ‘milk runs’ are you?”

Terry threw a turkey leg at him. “You never know how warm the water is until you jump into the pool.”

His dad replied, “Yeah, and we all know why it’s warm.”

“Leon William Walsh! Shut your mouth!” Connie was quick. She had to be.

Terry laughed as he looked up and saw his mom holding a large platter over his dad’s head. That little Irish woman was fast, too. And had the temperament to match.

Leon decided Starfleet jokes weren’t worth another trip to the infirmary. So he reached in and pulled a challenge coin out of his pocket and started tapping the counter. Terry whipped his out and tapped the table in response. Connie put the platter down and smiled.

Leon grinned. “Let’s see it.”

They both flipped each other their coin and took a look. Terry’s was just standard. On the other hand…

“Dad!” he exclaimed, “This is a Division General’s coin? How in the world did you manage this?”

“I won it in a card game. It’s yours, keep it. It may prove useful for you.”

“Dad…I can’t…you…”

“Don’t worry, son. I can get another one. The General’s a poor poker player. No game face.” He grinned. “None of the Divisional brass have a game face.”

“It’s not that. I just don’t think Starfleet participates in this, dad.”

“That’s too bad. It’s a fun, old tradition.” Leon paused. “Hey, maybe you can revive it or unofficially institute it or whatever.”

Terry thought for a second. You know, it would be kind of fun. But it would never work.

 

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