If you’re stressed about picking the right wine to complement special meals, you’re not alone. Should you pick a red or a white to go with the meal, and how much money is the right amount to spend? You can spend as much or as little as fits your budget. Join Gary Vee’s wine club or visit Trader Joe’s and pick up a bottle of ‘Two-Buck Chuck,’ if that’s more your style.
If you are a pleasure drinker, you may be receiving health benefits too. Moderate consumption can be a good thing. To be clear beer and spirits or hard liquor do not have the same benefits as red wine. Maybe the kids more than moderately taxed your capabilities, and it’s time to unwind with a nightcap after they go to bed. Does an occasional glass with dinner lead to two, three, or more? You’re overachieving moderate consumption. Height, weight, and amount of food intake vary the effects of alcohol for each person.
What is moderate consumption?
The American Heart Association defines moderate consumption as one to two four-ounce drinks a day for men and one four-ounce glass a day for women.
If you are keeping up with your spouse’s consumption, it’s a good idea to stop at least one glass short, if you’re female.
Red wine has health benefits. It:
Resveratrol is a compound to fight aging and you don’t have to drink wine to achieve its benefits. It comes from the skin of grapes, but can also be found in blueberries, cranberries, and nuts. Additionally, it comes in supplement form if you prefer a pill.
Reduces heart attack risk.
Study after study shows a 25-40% decrease in heart attack when drinking wine.
Lowers chance of heart disease.
Red wines have tannins, which are compounds that exist inside grape skins, seeds, and stems. Scientifically, they are known as polyphenols. Polyphenols release from the grape skins, seeds, and stems when they are soaked in grape juice right after the grapes have been pressed. They give certain wines a dry taste. The drier the taste, the higher the tannins, resulting from a longer soak. Tannins are a natural source of antioxidants, which are good for us and good for the heart.
The French Paradox supports this. Despite diets high in butter, cheese, and saturated fats, the French have a low rate of heart disease, which some attribute to the drinking of red wine.
Reduces risk factors of Type 2 Diabetes.
This kind of diabetes is characterized by high blood pressure, and a glass of red wine with dinner is shown to lower blood sugar. Researchers of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev find diabetic patients who drank red wine over the course of a two-year period gain cardiovascular health, and increase good cholesterol or HDL. They separated 224 participants into 3 groups, who drank red wine, white wine, or mineral water in the control group, with dinner. The greatest improvement is in the group who drinks red wine, according to CBS.
Decreases risk of stroke.
John Hopkins researchers reveal mice have less brain damage in an induced stroke after preventatively ingesting resveratrol than those who did not ingest the compound.
Sylvain Doré, Ph.D. says,
“Our study adds to evidence that resveratrol can potentially build brain resistance to ischemic stroke”.
No one is suggesting to replace carrots and other vegetables with red wine, but resveratrol also halts the growth of blood vessels in the eye, lowers the chance of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Minimizes risk of colon cancer.
The American Cancer Society suggests 1 in 20 Americans will develop colon cancer, and consuming 4 oz. of red wine may lessen the odds. Eating lots of vegetables, whole grains, and reducing intake of red meat will also help reduce the odds.
Slows brain decline.
A recent Alzheimer’s study suggests a glass of red wine every day will keep the mind sharper longer. People who choose to partake have a mind at least 7.5 years younger than those who do not, lessening the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Evidence suggests an occasional glass of red wine improves your health.
Red wine is in high demand and one man, Rudy Kurniawan, chose to capitalize on it by making it at home. Kurniawan is known for pulling off one of the most famous fake wine capers in history. He is currently serving a 10-year sentence for making and selling counterfeits of some of the world’s best-known wines, largely from Bordeaux and Burgundy.
He enjoyed living the high life from his capers and made his wine to order, blending wines in his kitchen sink, hidden from sight by a foil window covering. His millions and his European ‘magic cellar,’ came to a halt upon his arrest. Stacks of labels, corks, stamps, and bottles seized from Kurniawan’s house helped convict him.
His efforts are still being found in private collections and wine markets.
If you’re a fine wine connoisseur look for these things:
- Check the label color.
Labels have changed over the years, with an “ultra-white” issued in 1957. Its telltale sign is fluorescing under blue light. If a label fluoresces on an earlier dated bottle it is probably fake.
- Read the small print.
Most fine wine labels use a plate press, so look for color separation or evidence of dot matrix printing.
- Get your facts straight.
Know your wines. Does the information on the label jive with history? If not, it is probably fake.
- Showing its age.
Counterfeiters use various means to make the label appear aged. Be on the look for tobacco stains, grooves from sandpaper, or the imprint of a previous label.
White glue was introduced in 1960. It fluoresces under blue light. Be wary of glue around label edges and under capsules.
If the capsule has multiple creases it has probably been reapplied.
Some corks are branded instead of inked. Check for grooves left inside of the cork and dirt under the capsule.
A hand-blown bottle will wobble on the counter, and have the capacity etched on the bottle.
Wine sediment is hard to fake, so check for it.
Those tips are for la-t-da wine drinkers, but if you’re like me you probably enjoy a low to moderate priced wine. Throw out the rules and don’t be worried about what wine goes best with the menu. Focus on connecting with people and having a good time. For special meals, drink what you like and enjoy the health benefits too. After a couple of glasses, you probably won’t be able to taste the subtle differences of a high priced wine anyway.