Grape Wine Meets an Intimate Friend
Du Xiao Li and Luo Qi, along with Leng Er and Leng Shi arrived at the county seat. The horse carriage directly headed to the blacksmith shop.
“Uncle w.a.n.g, I came to fetch the thing.” Du Xiao Li entered the blacksmith shop, and seeing that no one was around, shouted towards the inside.
Blacksmith w.a.n.g came out from inside, saw Du Xiao Li and said, “The thing you want I’ve already finished.”
“I precisely came to get it.” Du Xiao Li said.
Blacksmith w.a.n.g had three pot racks and three basin-like pots brought out, saying: “Look and see if there’s any place that needs to be altered.”
Du Xiao Li crouched down and looked it over. This time, she planned to let everyone eat hot pot, so that’s why the racks she let blacksmith w.a.n.g forge were made according to design of those bases from her past life. The top was shaped like a cylinder, and below, there was a twenty centimeter high support. The outside was wrapped using iron sheets, and on one side of the iron sheet, there was an opening that can be used to put charcoal inside. The three pots rested on top perfectly.
T/N: rack/base similar to one underneath the pot in this picture
She then looked at the three pots. Two of them had a divider in the middle, used to eat ‘mandarin duck pot’. The remaining one didn’t have a divider.
Mandarin Duck Pot: spicy soup base in one side and mild soup base in the other.
“How is it?” Blacksmith w.a.n.g, seeing Du Xiao Li carefully looking at the pot rack, spoke out.
This little girl, although was very small, the things she had made every time were all strange and odd. However, they were all very creative. Du Xiao Li stood up and said, “The things uncle w.a.n.g makes are very good. It’s fine like this. This is the remaining money.”
When she came out, Han Ming Yi had given her a hundred taels of silver, saying it was the expenses of the festival this time. When she saw that hundred tael of silver, she couldn’t help but sigh: ‘This kid sure has money!’ Afterwards, she unhesitantly accepted it.
After getting the things from the blacksmith shop, Du Xiao Li had Leng Er drive the carriage to the county magistrate’s back door.
“You all wait here.” Du Xiao Li got down from the horse carriage, intending to take the grape wine prepared yesterday. Luo Qi had already picked up the wine jar and jumped down from the carriage, saying: “I’ll go in together with you.”
“Alright.” Du Xiao Li saw Luo Qi’s persistence and nodded in agreement. Afterwards, she went to go knock on the door.
The door very quickly opened. The guards at the gate had seen Du Xiao Li before last time, so when they saw her, they asked: “Is something the matter?”
“Trouble you to notify, I want to see Hong Jie.” Du Xiao Li said with a smile.
Hong Jie had once instructed them before that if Du Xiao Li comes looking herself, to go call for her. “Wait here, I’ll go call for you.”
Du Xiao Li waited outside the door. A while later, she heard Hong Jie’s voice, following which she saw her appear at the back gate.
“This girl, why didn’t you tell me yesterday that you were coming today?” Hong Jie pulled along Du Xiao Li’s hand and asked, “For you to have come today, is something the matter?”
“Not really.” Du Xiao Li smiled at Hong Jie and said, “Isn’t tomorrow mid-autumn? I came to town today to buy some things, and along the way bring madam this jar of wine.”
“Wine?” Hong Jie never thought that Du Xiao Li had come for the sake of delivering a jar of wine. Would this dignified county magistrate estate lack wine?
Du Xiao Li nodded and said, “This is grape wine I fermented myself and can be drunk right away, so I wanted to come give madam a jar.”
“Grape wine, what kind of wine is that?” Hong Jie asked.
“It’s a fruit wine fermented using grapes, erm, also a kind of fruit.” Du Xiao Li explained, “This kind of fruit wine doesn’t have high alcohol content, so even pregnant woman can also drink some.”
“Is that so?” Hong Jie brought them to the main courtyard, letting Du Xiao Li and Luo Qi wait outside, while she herself carried the wine inside.
Li Xue Mei at the moment was currently chatting with her own younger sister, Li Xue Qing. Ever since she got pregnant, Li Xue Qing would often come over to visit her. Seeing Hong Jie enter carrying a jar of wine, she said, “Didn’t you go see that little girl? Why are you carrying a jar of wine?”
Hong Jie bowed towards Li Xue Mei and said, “Replying madam, this is precisely what Xiao Li came to give madam. Said tomorrow is mid-autumn, so she wanted to give you this jar of grape wine that she fermented herself.”
“Grape wine? What kind of wine is that?” As soon as Li Hong Qing heard it was wine, she immediately became interested.
Li Xue Qing was only just twenty this year and looked very similar to her full-blooded older sister, Li Xue Mei. This Li family was the Zhou county’s wealthiest family, because their family had the largest winery in Zhou county. The entire Zhou county and the surrounding towns’ wine nearly all came from their family’s winery.
Li Xue Qing’s father, Li Chi, although was quite successful in business, he only had two daughters at his knee, and no son. This eldest daughter Li Xue Mei became the second wife for Sun Zheng after his first wife died, becoming the county magistrate’s madam. And this second daughter, he didn’t marry out, but rather found a man to marry into their family. Right now, this winery was precisely being managed by his daughter and son-in-law together.
That’s why, as soon as she heard grape wine, this Li Xue Qing immediately became interested.
“Xiao Li said it’s a type of fruit wine made using grapes, saying the alcohol content is low, so even if madam is pregnant, can also drink a bit.” Hong Jie replied.
“Fruit wine?” Li Xue Mei said, “This rather is unheard of before.”
“Elder sister, how about we open it and try some?” Li Xue Qing said.
“You ah, gets greedy as soon as you see wine.” Li Xue Mei said with a smile, “Someone, fetch the wine cups over.”
Very soon, someone came with two wine cups. Li Xue Qing impatiently had the seal removed, and a burst of faint wine aroma a.s.saulted the nostrils. There was also the scent of grapes mix in it. She carefully had the wine poured out, and seeing the red color wine, doubt exposed in her eyes.
“Why is this wine’s color red?” Li Xue Mei looked at the wine in the cup and said.
“Really is red!” Compared to Li Xue Mei’s skepticism, Li Xue Qing’s expression was much more excited.
“You know this kind of wine?” Li Xue Mei, seeing how excited her younger sister was, asked.
“Last time, when husband and I went to the capital, we once heard that in the western regions, there’s a type of red color wine. But that is tribute wine, and only people of the imperial household can enjoy it.” Li Xue Qing said. “That boss Qian that was together with us at the time had somehow gotten ahold of a jar from somewhere, so we also got to taste some. If this is that kind of wine, then our winery will soar!”
“Just look at that shining eyes of yours.” Li Xue Mei said with a laugh, “First let the servants drink, what if by chance this wine can’t be drunk? After all, it’s made by a little child.”
“No need, no need.” Li Xue Qing waved her hand and said, “This kind of thing I only need to smell once and will know whether or not I can be drunk, don’t worry, it’s fine.”
With that said, she lifted her own cup and slowly drank a sip.
“How is it? Is it that type of wine?” Li Xue Mei asked.
Li Xue Qing carefully tasted it and said, “Not the same. This wine isn’t as strong as that one, and the texture is also not the same. Drinking this, there’s a faint fruity aroma. Presumably that’s the so-called grape’s taste. Elder sister, the taste’s quite good, you can try some.”
“I better not.” Li Xue Mei said as she stroked her own stomach. This kind of unclear thing, it’s best if she doesn’t eat. If by chance something were to happen, it would be too late to regret.
“En, you’re right.” Li Xue Qing also thought of something, and then smilingly squeezed next to Li Xue Mei’s side, saying: “Elder sister, can you give me half of this wine?”
“This girl, this old and still the same as when you were little.” Li Xue Mei patted her hand and said, “If you like it, then just take it. This wine I can’t drink anyways. The flavor this weak, your brother-in-law won’t like either. He just likes stronger ones.”
“Thank you elder sister, I just know you love me, hehe.” Li Xue Qing said with a smile.
“You ah!” Li Xue Mei helplessly looked to Li Xue Qing. Right now, sisters that were intimate like them were indeed very rare. To be able to maintain this kind of relationship, for her, was also a good thing. She said to Hong Jie, “Go and give a case of the mooncakes they sent over to that girl. Afterwards, tell her I’ve accepted her kind intentions.”
“Yes, madam.” Hong Jie bowed, and then went to the side room to get a case of mooncakes out.
T/N: So I did some light research, aka googling, on alcohol content and homemade grape wines, and I think most grape wines in general, usually are around the 10% range, while rice wines, like baijiu from previous chapter, seems to average around 30-40% range, with highest I saw around 55% in certain regions.
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