“Do let’s!” he said. “It will be fun!” he further encouraged me. I nodded and smiled, as he knew I would.

He lobbed a heavy tome, a printout of at me.  “Wine? What’s wine?” I asked, intrigued by the sight of so many trees (“vines” he said) all  planted neatly in  one place, rather than growing haphazardly, as they do here on Melita.

“You’ll find out soon enough…” he said. Oh, yes. We were, after all, the Ambassadors for our planet, and we were due to leave in… ten planet-turns and counting.  As for myself, though, I could never see the point in not eating fruits and vegetables fresh raw. I never ate pickles or dried fruit – so how could I be expected to like preserved (“fermented” he said) grapes that, moreover, would have been squeezed and squashed into gloop (“pulp” he said)?

Time warps make travel easier and faster – but they wreak havoc with my digestive system… and with my hair. To make a long story short, after six months’ earth-time travel, we landed at the Aeropuerto de Málaga-Costa del Sol.

The formalities over, we were finally able to take a shower in water that was weirdly transparent, and not the delicate pastel pink of Melita. We had time to kill, because the first Conference was on the morning of the morrow.  So obviously we expressed the wish to go on the tour that had mentioned Verdejo white, rosé, oak-aged young wine, “and many others”.

A proverb oft quoted on Melita says “Some drink deeply from the well of knowledge – others just gargle and spit.” I had never seen it happen literally, but here I saw it happen with the wines… and I did it myself. It was patiently explained to me that if we downed all the wine samples presented to us, we would end up sozzled. We don’t have alcohol on Melita, so I had to take their word for it.

So I learned a whole new lexicon; words like almacenista, blanco, bodega, crianza, granvas, mistela, reserva and many more now roll mellifluously off the forks of my tongue…

 I discovered that I liked best the sparkling wines with high acidity, but I could not decide which I preferred – Champagne, Prosecco, Cava or Lambrusco. Unbeknownst to us, our hosts had arranged a treat – fish & chips (my first time ever eating a cooked vegetable) and bubbly on tap, on a visit to La Mancha and the windmills of Don Quixote.

I bought a couple of books on oenology to take back with me to Melita – whatever happens with the mining treaties and space exploration enterprises, I am going to make sure that the wine industry will flourish in Melita.  

If we talk chalk, our soil is similar to that of Pouilly and Sancerre in the Loire Valley, Chablis in Burgundy and Aube in Champagne.

Humans are human, after all. The flavour of our fizz will be out of this world.



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