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A word about red wine.

November 27, 2011

There is a lot of buzz about red wine these days.  Research suggests it has properties that are good for your heart.  I am something of a red wine aficionado, not for health reasons, just because I like it.  I enjoy a glass with dinner in the evening, for the taste and for the relaxing feeling.  I thought I would address the red wine rumors and information here.  It’s a fun way to spend a Sunday morning.

I found an excellent article on the Mayo Clinic website that explains in detail the pros and cons of red wine and other alcoholic beverages here.  Science Daily has a more technical article reviewing the research here.  Note as you read these articles uses of words like “suggests”, “may”, and “might”.  These are cues to help you spot information which has not been confirmed in the research, merely suggested by findings.  The researchers are surmising the causative factors and more research is required to confirm their assumptions.  Much of the interest in red wine in North America stems from reports of the French Paradox back in the 90’s.  This is the observation that although the French ate much more saturated fat in their diets than Americans, their rates of heart disease were lower.  One of the possible factors in this difference that was considered was the consumption of red wine.

Here is a summary of the information for those who would rather read my blog than click on the links.  Research suggests there are health benefits in moderate consumption of red wine.  Possible ingredients contributing to this benefit include alcohol and antioxidants such as resveratrol. Possible reasons for the benefits include reduced inflammation and blood clotting and increasing HDL (“good” cholesterol).  Key word to remember is moderation.  Moderate consumption of alcohol is considered to be two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women according to the American Heart Association.  All sources agree if you don’t already drink alcohol there is no need to start and of course, if you already know you have problems with addiction you should avoid drinking.

Now to the fun part where I get to talk about drinking the wine!  In these days of economic contraction, it’s always good to know how to save a little money.  I have become a connoisseur of the under $10 wines.  I have found several brands that are consistently good and surprisingly cheap.  Here are some of my favorites in no particular order:

  • Rex Goliath – Who couldn’t enjoy a wine with a giant 47 pound rooster as it’s mascot!
  • Yellow Tail – Australian wine available in mass quantities everywhere.  Generally tasty, too.
  • Gnarly Head – Love their old vine zinfandel.
  • Menage a Trois – Likable red wine produced by Folie a Deux.

It took me a while to work up my courage to try box wine, but once I did I found they are generally pretty good.  Prices tend to run $15 to $22 for a 3 liter box (that’s equivalent to 4 750 ml bottles) making it average around $4 or $5 a bottle.  Advantages are they stay fresh for about a month after opening since the wine is not exposed to air and cost.  Disadvantages are limited brands available and that risk of buying 3 liters of a wine and then finding out you don’t like it.  That actually just happened to me for the first time.  This one may be relegated to cooking wine.  Here are some I do like:

  • Wine Cube – Target brand wine box.  Surprisingly good!
  • Black Box – I can usually find it at the grocery store.  Consistently good.
  • Herding Cats – Made in South Africa.  Found this one at Spec’s.
  • Bota Box – Found a lot of places, generally good.

I hope you have enjoyed my morning ramble.  If you have any suggestions for a good red, please send me a comment!

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