From Our Cellars

Wine is Life on Tryptophan, Trypophobia & Turkey

Posted November 20, 2012 in Tasting

We thought that we’d use this opportunity to clear up some misconceptions about Thanksgiving:

Does your grandmother make baked sweet potatoes with little marshmallows on top?  Does she carefully arrange the flavorful little blobs to make a perfect patchwork of fluffy goodness?  Is the crust on her apple pie an M.C. Escher-worthy grid of flakiness?  Does this geometric perfection of culinary engineering frighten you or cause anxiety?  You have trypophobia, or a fear of clustered geometric shapes.  This is not to be confused with “tryptophan,” or the chemical that everyone says makes you sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner.

Norman Rockwell

Wine is Life is here to provide a service (in addition to wonderful garments and gizmos), and so let’s move on to our next myth:  Turkey makes you sleepy.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid.  While it is certainly present in turkey, it can also be found in eggs, cheese, chicken, beef, flour, potatoes and a host of other popular Thanksgiving foodstuffs.  And while it can be used as a sleep aid, your drowsiness is more likely the result of too much food and drink than it is from your fowl.

And if you’re serving turkey, and that’s kind of like chicken, you have to serve white wine, right?


White with poultry/red with meat went out with VHS tapes.  You can serve whatever the heck you want with your turkey-day feast.  Like many things in life, it’s about finding the right balance.

A good choice for your meal, and one we enjoy here at Wine is Life, is Mumm Napa Brut Reserve Rose.  The tickle on the nose will encourage you to dive in for more mashed potatoes, and the hints of cherry, cranberry and raspberry are the perfect side dish.  It’s really good for a pre-meal toast, and not horribly expensive.Mumm Napa

Do you like cherry pie?  Topel Winery is in Mendocino County, California, not too far from Mumm, and they have the perfect wine for you.  Pinot Noir is made with a black grape, and those grapes make a deep, rich, sweet wine that induces a feeling that some compare to falling in love.  Berry and currant flavors will make Topel Serendipity Reserve Pinot Noir the glass of choice for your trip to the couch.  A warm, soothing nap in a glass.

We often begin planning the Wine is Life Thanksgiving Feast & Football Bonanza during our annual Wine is Life Beach Bacchanalia, so we reserve a special wistful fondness for flipflops and sandy sheets.  It is for this reason that Barefoot Zinfandel always graces our table.  Most of the zinfandel wine in the United States is sold as white zinfandel, a wine that is pretty much accidental in origin.  A guy at Sutter Home was trying to juice up some zin when the yeast died out before fermentation was complete.  He set the dead wine aside, and trying it later, found that the sweet, pink juice was extremely tasty.  But we digress.

Young Zinfandels in action for Wine is LifeBarefoot Zinfandel is made with traditional zinfandel grapes, and is a red.  Zinfandel is considered a truly American product, much like jazz, and with Thanksgiving being an American holiday, we always feel patriotic when we drink it.  You get a nice, rich wine with cherry and berry flavors, and then the whole think takes off with a hint of cracked pepper in the finish.

Not that all of your choices have to be waving the Red White & Blue.  Cabernet Franc is a dark, French grape found in the Bordeaux region.  While we aren’t Francophiles, we do dig some snooty French wine.  Domaine de la Noblaie Chinon Les Chiens-Chiens is French, difficult to say, and damned tasty.  You can find a bottle for under $20, and it makes a great addition with its accents of dark spices and tobacco.

So you may eat too much this Thanksgiving.  And even though the election is over, you may find yourself in a fistfight over taxes or healthcare.  And yes, you may feel a bit drowsy after your meal.  That’s not from the turkey.  It may be the fact that you’ve chosen to watch Jacksonville (0-5-0) take on the Kansas City Chiefs (0-5-0) in the AFC.  THAT will make you sleepy.

Better bring the bottle.

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