Sat | Dec 3, 2016

Live and Drink Red

Published:Thursday | September 25, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Jason Clarke contributor
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I am sure that many of you have heard the adage, a glass a day keeps the doctor away. There is, in fact, some truth to this statement. Wine is rich in antioxidants, but not just all wines; specifically those bold, beautiful and vibrant reds. Now, I'm not advocating for reckless abandonment, but the research clearly shows that red wine, when consumed in moderation, has been known to prevent heart disease, and the latest research also suggests it could reduce the risk of cancer.

Why is it healthy?

According to mayclinic.org, antioxidants in red wine, called polyphenols, help to protect the lining of blood vessels in the heart. Specifically, one such polyphenol, called resveratrol, is the key ingredient in wine that has the particular effect on the good ol' ticker.

Resveratrol is found in the skin and seeds of the grapes, and red wines tend to have an extended contact with the skin and seeds during the fermentation process thus resulting in higher levels of antioxidant.

Which wines are better?

Red wines with a dry profile tend to have higher levels of flavonoids, which is an antioxidant known for promoting healthy cholesterol. Naturally, the sweeter wines that many of us tend to enjoy have lower levels of flavonoids thus not having the maximum benefit. Research has proven that Pinot Noirs are the heart healthiest varietal of the lot with higher levels of resveratrol. Cabernets, on the other hand, have been found to improve cardiovascular and arterial health and suggested to increase longevity.

Other varietals that we are likely to see that are also good are Merlots and Syrahs. In general, these wines have the highest level of resveratrol in regions further away from the equator where it has more light rather than heat that ripens the grapes too soon.

Tomorrow is the 25th staging of the Simply Red Wine and Food Festival being organised by the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, where a number of companies will be pouring wines that are heart-friendly. Red blends may invariably give the best mix of flavour as well as the associated health benefits. One such blend is Apothic Red. This blend is from a Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which is simply delicious without being sweet, making it truly remarkable. Little Penguine Merlot will also be featured as a great everyday pouring wine.

Not to let the cat out of the bag, but there should be a number of new and interesting options to taste and experience. I will be there, so find me and let's talk wine.

I would like to raise my glass to you. Here's to great wine and healthy living.

I am not an expert, merely a wine enthusiast sharing my thoughts and experiences. Feel free to share your own experiences at wineenthusiastja@gmail.com.