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Tryptophan & Ethanol

Aaron Lober
January 10, 2020

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What do you get when you combine stuffed birds, fruit-flavored gelatin, food-induced naps, and uncomfortable family moments? My favorite holiday, that’s what! I’ve been waiting all year for Thanksgiving and now that we’re only a few weeks away, the anticipation is killing me. My whole life, our family has maintained a tradition of coming together for the weekend to stuff our faces, play board games, go on groups jogs, go to the movies, you name it. It’s 4 solid days (Thursday - Sunday) of uninterrupted family time and I LOVE IT.

Thanksgiving Photo form a bygone era: Pictured from left to right (Asher, Leo, Max, yours truly)
Thanksgiving Photo form a bygone era: Pictured from left to right (Asher, Leo, Max, yours truly)

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of thanksgivings spent in Palm Springs or Mission Viejo, playing 5 card stud with my great aunt Ida (Still the matriarch, and oldest surviving member of my dad’s side of the family). To this day, everything useful I ever learned at a card table, I learned playing with her. Long before my parents’ divorce or the passing of the older generations, these little interludes helped teach me who I was and where I came from. In a lot of ways, I’m still that snotty little kid trying to sneak sees candy while the grown-ups aren’t looking.

Uncle Bryan’s “Celery” Speech
Uncle Bryan’s “Celery” Speech

As I’ve gotten older, and begin to contemplate more and more the family I’m building, this tradition has taken on new dimensions of importance. My wife is beloved by my family. Well before we were married, she won everyone over and functionally sealed the deal by chopping a mountain of celery on Thanksgiving day alongside my aunts. This singular act left such an impression on my uncle Bryan that he brought it up while giving a speech at our wedding. Thanksgiving is how we officially welcome new members into our tribe.

This year, Geena and I will be introducing a new member of our family to the Lober clan... A 5-month-old German Shorthair named POPPY. She’ll certainly benefit from the socialization differently than I did. If ever we decide to take the next step tho and throw a mini human in the mix, I know these people, and this tradition will be there. What a great holiday.

So with that in mind, let’s get to what everyone really came here for. Some advice on how to impress your new (or soon to be) in-laws, with your wine pairing prowess.

  1. Pay attention to your acids: Like many of you, I’m a big fan of both reds and whites that retain a bright acidity. If the wine doesn’t have enough acid, I likely won’t be going back for seconds. With that said, there are a number of classic Thanksgiving favorites that don’t pair so well with high acidity whites and reds. Cranberry sauce in its own right has more than enough acid to dilute your experience of the wine. So if you’re a fan of Sauvignon Blanc or Burgundian Chardonnay like I am, try forgoing the cranberry sauce in favor of something more savory or higher in fat concentration, like gravy.
  2. Don’t overdo the heavy stuff: This advice could apply to just the meal itself. If you’re focusing on the wine, however, don’t feel like you need to pair the biggest boldest wine you’ve got with the turkey and gravy just because it’s your primary protein. The fat concentrated in the bird or gravy, and the sugar in your sweet potatoes will play beautifully off the acid in lighter reds like a Grenache or Gamay Noir. HOWEVER, there’s nothing wrong with drinking what you love. If you prefer a bolder wine, try a warm weather Syrah, a big Napa Cab, or an appropriately aged Petit Verdot with your main course.
  3. Don’t overcomplicate it: Plan to drink what you like. Thanksgiving should be a time to relax with the people you love. If you have a specific varietal or vintage that serves as your comfort wine drink that. If however, you’re struggling to decide on what to bring to Thanksgiving, Check out our shop online at www.rivierawinegroupshop.com or send us an email at grow@rivierawinegroup.com We’ve got tons of interesting varietals to choose from and we’re happy to help you make the right selection.

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