“Going Overboard,” Goldschmidt Vineyards Chelsea Merlot 2016

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Sonja and I have a fundamental disagreement about when Christmas occurs. I believe that Christmas is December the 25th. Sonja believes that Christmas runs from mid-October, sometime just before Halloween, until mid-February, perhaps a while after Valentine’s Day. Oddly enough, no matter how many times I show her a calendar, her opinion on this matter doesn’t seem to change. So in our household we came to a compromise a few years ago, and I agreed that we could begin decorating for Christmas when we returned from Thanksgiving. And so, following the natural progression of things as the universe tends to do, yesterday evening, three nights before Thanksgiving, Sonja, Titus, Zooey, and I began to put up our Christmas trees.

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Our opening efforts in the family room indicated that Sonja would have some bulbs to replace in all of that free time she has…

Next, on the second floor near our bedroom, we set up our new, skinny tree in front of the family tree that we have on the wall. The lights were very pretty when I went to bed last night, and again when I woke up this morning.

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After that, we headed down to the basement. We untangled lines of burnt out bulbs and set up the battered old tree in my man cave while in the background the Husker men’s basketball team improved to 4-0.

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While we put up the trees and spent time with our kids, we listened to James Taylor’s Christmas album and sipped at the wine I had paired with dinner. Nick Goldschmidt is a terrific winemaker, and “Chelsea” — a wine he named for one of his daughters, is a terrific Alexander Valley Merlot. The 2016 iteration of it is bold and robust for the varietal, smoothing out after a lengthy decant to become more typical of the varietal in girth and mouthfeel. Prominent notes of woodsmoke overlays bing cherry, blueberry, and hints of leather on a palate that continued to evolve for quite some time. A smooth, easy-drinkng wine, I found it to be a terrific pairing with a late November evening spent decorating for Christmas.  I asked around, and found that in Omaha, this wine is available at Pacific Cellars, Old Vines, Corkscrew, Wohlner’s, and soon The Winery, and runs right around the $20-$22 mark.

In all reality, I’m not the grinch I used to be. While I still get annoyed with stores playing Christmas music when I’m there to buy Halloween candy (or fireworks), the truth is I enjoyed putting up our trees a great deal, and I’m really looking forward to finishing our decorating when we get back on Sunday. Having kids has made Christmas infinitely more enjoyable, and Sonja’s enthusiasm makes it all but impossible not to relish this time of year. I hope your week goes well, and that if you also engage in decorating for the holidays that you enjoy it profoundly. Happy Thanksgiving! Happy holidays!

Cheers to extending the holiday season,

Mark

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