Red wine is rich in chemicals called polyphenols. Research has shown that these compounds expand your blood vessels, reducing blood pressure and making it easier for blood to flow. They also fight hardening of your arteries, the major contributor to heart disease. Get polyphenols into your body and your heart will be happier.
The beneficial chemicals are found in the skins and seeds of purple grapes. Old-fashioned red winemaking methods leave these solids to infuse in the pressed juice for a week or more resulting in more polyphenols in the wine. By contrast modern wine production techniques drain off the juice after just a couple of days, so today’s mass-made wines have fewer polyphenols – and white wines, where skins are never left in the juice at all, have hardly any.
Unfortunately polyphenol-rich grapes are often packed with tongue-curling tannins. If, like me, you’re not a great fan of tannin, ‘decant’ the wine before drinking – slosh it into a jug to mix in air and reduce the stewed-tea taste. Wines heavy on tannin also tend to taste better with food than on their own.
I prefer to slurp easier-drinking blends based on Cabernet Sauvignon or Sangiovese. They are just as healthy and their lighter style might appeal to white wine buffs. Bordeaux is famous for Cabernet Sauvignon but there are dozens of fine-value bottles on the supermarket shelves. Nor do the French have the monopoly on deliciously healthy plonk as Italy’s Sangiovese-based Chianti, with its black-cherry flavours, proves.
Just because all these wines are good for you it doesn’t mean they taste like medicine. Flavours range from the richness of chocolate, walnuts and sweet cinnamon to fresh, astringent raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and redcurrants. Come to think of it, chocolate, walnuts, cinnamon and fruit are laced with polyphenols themselves, so put them all into a sponge cake filled with raspberry jam and you’d have a surprisingly heart-friendly food.
PG Wine Reviews
Aldi Venturer Italian Primitivo di Puglia
Chocolately and spicy.
SPAR M Malbec 2015, France
A really good wine from this corner shop brand. Flavours of sweet plum, with balancing sharpness of blackcurrant and sloe.
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Chilean Pinot Noir 2015
A great wine with flavours of cherry and plum followed by darker nuances of coffee and rosemary.
Morrisons Red Burgundy 2014
A really nice wine that is light and fruity with a bit of dryness. Cherry and redcurrant flavours.
Baciato dal Sole Italian Primitivo 2014
£9.99 Virgin Wines
A lighter style of red with flavours of blackberry and damson plus sharper notes of coffee. Match to lighter meats and tomato dishes.
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© Paula Goddard 2017 www.paulagoddard.com