They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but what about a glass of wine? Though any alcohol consumed in moderation–beer, wine or spirits–will show benefits, red wines contain resveratrol, an antioxidant known to promote good cholesterol (HDL), support weight loss, and reduce blood clots. Many people cut their wine intake back this time of year, but consuming a glass a day should be on the short list of your New Year’s resolutions. If you want to get the most out of your red wine consumption, some reds are more beneficial than others. Cannonau/Grenache, Tannat, Malbec, and Nebbiolo are some of the healthiest grape varieties, containing high amounts of the cancer-fighting, blood-pressure-reducing resveratrol.
Cannonau is a synonym for the very worldly Grenache. Both have a high concentration of heart-healthy antioxidants. However, Grenache from Sardinia, called Cannonau, has higher levels than the grapes from any other region. Sella and Mosca produce a bold and intense Cannonau that is spicy and dry. I highly recommend it. If you can’t find Cannonau, Grenache can mostly be found in the Spanish, French and Australian section, where it is normally blended with Shiraz and Mourvedre. Check out the juicy, robust Garnacha de Fuego from Spain or the layered and jammy Mr. Black’s Concoctions GSM.
If you want to be thrown for a wine loop, try Tannat! It’s one of the most intense wines I have ever tried, and it’s absolutely delicious. Hard to find but worth the hunt, this wine from the small region of Madiran, France, is tannic and rich with smoke, plum and blackberry notes. This powerful grape gets its health benefits from high levels of procyanidin, a flavonoid that, like resveratrol, has been found to reduce risks of cancer and heart disease.
Malbec is one of the fastest-growing wines in the US, and I can understand why. Like Grenache, it can be soft and lush or bold and grippy, but most are loaded with blue/black fruits and mild tannins. In the French region of Cahors, its nickname is the Black Grape, and the wines are more tannic and intense than most found in Argentina or California. Malbec should be easy to find, and you can normally find it at a good price. Our top sellers are, Zuccardi and Elm Tree.
The Italian King of Wines, Barolo, is made from our last miracle-worker grape. Rustic, spicy and floral, Nebbiolo has a high tannin level, and much like Tannat, it needs time to age. Lightest in color, its tannin content contributes to the health attributes of this licorice- and leather-perfumed Italian. Barolos like Veglio and Oddero are excellent examples of Nebbiolo and terrific complements to mushroom risotto or roasted meats.
These red wines, when enjoyed in moderation, can lead to fewer trips to the doctor this year. But since they are so richly tannic and inky, a trip to the dentist for some teeth whitening may be in the cards! Drink to your health!