Summary: Draco Malfoy fancies himself a connoisseur of fine wine and fine women, but a string of encounters with Ginny Weasley teaches him that he still has something to learn about both.

Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns all things Harry Potter.

A/N: “In Vino Veritas” translates roughly as “Truth In Wine”. This story is pure fluff, and is more or less an excuse for me to combine two of my hobbies—D/G and wine. I will use some wine terms in the story (and in each chapter title!), but I don’t think you’ll need to know anything about wine to enjoy the story. Just in case, I will include explanatory notes at the end of each chapter (in the tradition of twiddlekinks’s story “PhD”). That said, although I am enthusiastic about wine, I am no expert. Thus I apologize in advance in case there are any errors in the information I include. I hope you enjoy the story. Please let me know what you think!


In Vino Veritas

I. Variety

Draco Malfoy woke slowly to the feeling of small hands tracing patterns on his bare chest. He stretched languidly and turned toward the black-haired beauty beside him. She looked at him through hooded eyes, and said seductively, “Good morning.”

Draco smiled at her. “Good morning, yourself.” He turned to look at the clock and groaned. He would need to hurry.

As Draco extracted himself from the tangled bed covers, the woman asked, “Would you spend the day with me, Draco? I’ll make sure it is a very good day…”

Draco reached for his pants, answering, “Sorry, love. My mother is expecting me for breakfast. Some old school friend of hers is visiting.”

“Oh,” Simone said with disappointment. At least Draco thought her name was Simone. “Then could I entice you to come back tonight?” She eyed him hopefully.

Draco laughed. “Come, now, love. You know me better than that!”

“Yes, I suppose I do. It was worth a try anyway.” Draco fastened his robe. “Will I see you again soon?”

“Probably,” Draco answered with a grin, as he checked his hair in the mirror. “It isn’t personal, you do know that, don’t you?” Simone nodded. “It’s just that variety is the spice of life!”

As Draco Apparated home, he smiled inwardly at his little pun. Draco’s two principal hobbies were wine and women. He played Quidditch too, but that was only once a week. The other two were essential parts of a complete day.

Not only was Draco a connoisseur of both wine and women, he saw many similarities between the two. Every woman he had ever met resembled some kind of wine. For example, Simone was a New World Shiraz—warm and spicy, with an underlying earthy sensuality. Draco had trouble remembering women’s names, but he always remembered which variety of grape they corresponded to.

And just as Draco would not want to drink the same wine night after night, neither would he want to bed the same woman. Oh, he knew that he would need to marry someday in order to produce an heir. When he did, his wife would be of the utmost quality, a Lafite-Rothschild or a Montrachet. But he would postpone that day as long as he reasonably could, and he would undoubtedly have other women on the side. After all, variety in both wine and women was what made life interesting.


Draco strolled into the Manor’s dining room, which was still empty. He sighed with relief. He was looking forward to a chance to read the Prophet before he had to play host to his mother’s friend. He helped himself from a dish of kippers on the sideboard, and took his customary seat at the head of the table. He had just unfolded the paper when his mother and another woman entered the room.

Draco stood respectfully and moved to greet the two women. “Good morning, Mother,” he said, kissing Narcissa’s cheek, then turned his attention to her friend.

The woman was much too old for Draco’s tastes. She was his mother’s age, after all. Just the idea of his mother being in any way a sexual being made Draco shudder. He would never be able to compare her to a wine. She would always be as innocent as milk in his eyes, even if his own existence proved otherwise. Despite this, Draco could not help but notice that her friend was quite attractive with her generous figure and flowing honey-blonde hair. She was a rich, full-bodied red Bordeaux, he decided, that had been kept in the cellar just a little too long.

“Good morning, Draco,” Narcissa was saying. She turned to her companion and said, “Elizabeth, may I present my son, Draco. Draco, this is my friend, Madame Dupré. We were at Hogwarts together before she got married and moved away.”

Draco took Madame Dupré’s hand and kissed the back of it. “I am delighted to meet you, Madame. Mother has told me so much about you.”

“You’re even more charming than you were as a three-year-old,” she said, laughing. Draco noticed that her wrinkles disappeared as she smiled. He revised his assessment of her slightly. Certainly a Bordeaux, but perhaps not as far past her prime as he had originally thought. This was confirmed when she took his arm, and said, “But do please call me Elizabeth. ‘Madame’ makes me feel so old!”

Draco and Narcissa spent the afternoon showing Elizabeth the Malfoy estate. Much to Draco’s chagrin, Elizabeth flirted with him shamelessly all day. In the face of her considerable assets, it was all he could do to make himself remember that she was old enough to be his mother. As soon as he could gracefully do so, he made his excuses, and left the two friends to themselves.

When he had left Simone’s flat earlier in the day, Draco had thought he would be in the mood to see Pansy Parkinson that night (cool and crisp with a bit of a bite like a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc). Her snide comments about everyone they encountered usually made for interesting dinner conversation. But after fending off Elizabeth’s advances all day, Draco wasn’t sure he could make it through dinner without relieving some of the tension he had built up. Instead of Pansy, he decided to visit Evangeline Avery.

Evangeline, who was a few years younger than Draco, had been openly smitten with him since her first year at Hogwarts. Draco generally tried to avoid her. (He also tried to avoid Liebfraumilch, which he found sweetly insipid.) He felt that the obvious way Evangeline mooned after him was unbefitting a member of Slytherin House. But he had to admit that it could have its advantages—he was sure that she would drop everything for the opportunity to see him.

Draco Apparated to Diagon Alley, and made his way to the block of flats where Evangeline lived. Much like Vincent Crabbe, Evangeline had no great talent with magic, so Draco thought it was rather fortunate for the girl that her father had died in the war. Her inheritance allowed her to purchase a flat in the exclusive Edgerton Arms, which even provided house-elf service to its tenants.

Draco smirked at Evangeline’s enthusiasm when she greeted him through the Door-side Floo. He would usually find it distasteful, but not today. No doubt she would change her clothes and tidy her flat before deactivating the door wards, so Draco leaned against the wall to wait.

Suddenly, Draco was startled as a figure Apparated in front of him. They stared at each other briefly, which gave Draco time to take in her appearance. Her robes were frayed and baggy, with green stains near her knees. Her skin was slightly sunburned, which made her plethora of freckles stand out starkly. And her vivid red hair was escaping from her ponytail, flying every which way around her face. It could only be Ginny Weasley. Seeing her for the first time since he left Hogwarts was slightly startling, and she seemed to react the same way.

“Malfoy,” she said, her voice slightly strained. “What are you doing here?”

“I am visiting a friend, Weasley,” Draco said frostily. “What are you doing here?”

“Maybe I live here,” she said evasively.

Draco scoffed. There was no way someone as poor as Ginny Weasley could have legitimate business in this block of flats. “Oh, yes,” he said, sarcasm dripping from his voice. “You live here. Next thing you know, Crups and Kneazles will be living in harmony.” Draco saw Ginny’s eyes flash in response, and went in for the kill. “Did you come here to beg for money to buy a proper set of robes?”

Ginny stood completely still for a moment, then did something Draco never expected. She burst into laughter. “Oh, Malfoy, you’re still using the same old insults? And I expected that in nine years, you might have grown up!”

Draco scowled at the still giggling woman. He didn’t know how to respond. He always knew how to respond. The fact that he suddenly found himself without a witty comeback made him cranky. But Ginny kept talking.

“You don’t seem the type to appreciate the benefits of a day of manual labor in the sunshine, so I will forgive you for not understanding that I wouldn’t wear my best robes for that,” she said, amused.

Ginny reached up to secure her hair more firmly in her ponytail, which pulled her robes tight across her body. Draco couldn’t help but notice her impressive figure. Then he realized he was thinking about a Weasley. That was even worse than thinking about Elizabeth. He blamed it on the sexual tension he had built up all afternoon. But he still found himself trying to decide what kind of wine Ginny reminded him of. It hadn’t come to him as quickly as usual, which annoyed him. But she was a Weasley. It shouldn’t matter. She was probably the cheap plonk sold directly from the barrel in restaurants on the continent, the wine that wasn’t good enough to bottle. Yes, that was it.

“What are you looking at, Malfoy?” Ginny asked, blushing.

Draco hadn’t realized he had been staring. At a Weasley. He was saved from answering as the door wards were released. He abruptly turned his back on Ginny, his own face flaming as it had not done in years, and entered the building in search of Evangeline and escape.


Tasting Notes:

* All fine wine, both red and white, is made from the same species of grape, Vitis vinifera. There are, however, different varieties of grapes (sometimes referred to as varietals), which account for the vast differences in kinds of wine. Draco’s pun and the chapter title of course both refer to his taste for variety in his varietals.

* Wine that is made outside of Europe is sometimes referred to as “New World”. In Australia and parts of California and South Africa, the wine made from the Syrah grape is done in a spicier style than is traditional in France’s Rhône Valley, so it is called Shiraz to distinguish it.

* Draco’s ideas of what kind of wine his future wife should resemble are both examples of French wines of impeccable quality. Lafite-Rothschild is a producer of a red wine from the Bordeaux region. It is one of the five “Premiers Crus”, the finest wines according the classification made in 1855, which is still in use today. Montrachet is a vineyard in Burgundy that produces exceptional white wines made from the Chardonnay grape.

* How long a wine can be kept varies depending on the grapes used and the quality of the wine. Some fine wines, such as red Bordeaux, can improve for decades. Eventually, however, the wine will begin to deteriorate. This is Draco’s take on Elizabeth.

* Sauvignon Blanc is traditionally blended with Semillon and Muscadelle to make the white wines from the Bordeaux region. In the New World, however, (particularly in New Zealand and California) it tends to be bottled on its own without aging in oak. This produces a wine that tends to be highly acidic. It is sometimes referred to as “pissy”, which seems quite apt for Pansy.

* Liebfraumilch is a sweet white German wine made primarily for export. It tends to be fairly weak and of low quality.

* In many small restaurants in Europe, the “house wine” is quite inexpensive and of variable quality. It is often served in carafes that are filled directly from a barrel rather than from a bottle.

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