Let’s face it, we all need a little comfort food now and again. Particularly after a day bumping heads with people who seem determined to shred any of the peace of mind we started the day with. Whether it be boardroom table or kitchen table. Reaching for that glass of wine has health benefits beyond the elusive cone of tranquility that first sip can give.
Grapes are like little parcels of health and some of their health giving compounds can be found in wine. However, before you think that drinking the entire bottle of sauvignon blanc will be the healthy option, most of the benefits are to be found in the skin of the grape meaning that it is the warming red wines to which I refer. And don’t over do it as more than a standard drink or two means the risks start building up again.
To get their rich ruby colour, red wines have extended contact with their skins, almost the exact opposite to white wines. The skins contain antioxidants such as resveratrol. These may help in the fight against cancer & heart disease and other illness and health issues.
Of course, then there is the benefit of the relaxation offered by a glass of wine, of any colour, that cannot be denied. Soothing the stresses of the moment. That little time out for frayed nerves to lower the blood pressure some. So now you can enjoy a glass of your favourite wine knowing that not only does it taste great, but may also be doing you some good too.
Here are three red wines to look for, including a recommendation or two for our featured recipes this month:
St Hallett Faith Shiraz 2011 – Sweet ripe fruit flows from lips to the finish, Faith is generous in intensity but still elegantly clad in a medium body with some lean muscular tannins to hold its shape. A good wine for most occasions but science has proven that man cannot live on Faith alone so perhaps be inspired to try it with slow cooked beef or a lamb and date tagine. ($17)
Houghton Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 – Is this one of Australia’s forgotten gems? The length and elegance of this wine is there for the taking – and with change for $20. Rich cigar, black currant and red fruit shows some cedary depths that keep evolving in the glass. Powdery tannins give their supple texture to ripe and sweet juicy fruit with drinkability oozing from every well balanced pore. A versatile wine that will go just as well with spiced & seasoned chicken and pork as it would with red meat as long as the chilli heat is dialled well down. And it is good for a second night too if you please. A few wise bottles in the cellar would be a good idea too. ($19)
Le Vins de Vienne Crozes Hermitage Les Palignons 2009 – For lovers of shiraz and its prettier side. This time from France and worth spending just that little bit more to be able to lose yourself in the fragrant sweet violets and black pepper, overlaying the black cherry & plums, followed by a pinch of dried herbs. A modern expression of plush fruit and velvety tannins through to the finish. ($39)
Disclaimer: One fly in the glass however is that while some health research agencies are advocates, don’t expect the National Heart Foundation endorsement to appear on any bottles of wine in the near future. Too much wine and you will begin to undo the benefits with the more negative side effects of alcohol so it is best to stick to the recommended intake. If you need some help with the calculations, here is a handy tool.
Lisa has an infectious enthusiasm for all things vinous. She is a wine educator, writer and wine business consultant who has a fascination for the ever changing nature of wine and the wine experience – in the vineyard, in the bottle and in the glass. An avid wine traveller, her plan is to visit every wine region in the world. She is also renowned for unrepentantly insisting that wine is opened at playdates – for the adults only, of course!
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