Vin Connections French Paradox (October 2004)

IN THIS ISSUE

Yet Another Reason to Enjoy Red Wine… The French Paradox Gets a Boost from Spanish Scientists. Not only good for your heart and your head, now it’s good for your lungs, too!
For much of the past decade, the “French Paradox” has been held up as proof by various industry groups that moderate consumption of red wine is a not only enjoyable, but healthy to boot. After all, how else can we explain how the French eat all the butter, cream, foie gras and cheese they can sink their teeth into, and still have much lower rates of obesity and heart disease than their new world counterparts?

Of course, McDonald’s has been expanding throughout France over the last decade, so the French might not be holding onto this lead for long. But as of today, there’s new research that points to even more beneficial effects of enjoying a drink that I, for one, hold as near and dear to my heart as any food. So enjoy the 20 Splurge Reds in this issue knowing that you’re watching out for health at the same time you’re pleasing your palate.

  • This Month’s Reader Question:
    “Is there any truth to the rumor that red wine is good for your health?”
  • This Month’s Wine Pick:
    20 “Heart Healthy” Splurge Reds, still $30 a bottle or less…
  • This Month’s Quote:
    From the Proverbial “Horse’s Mouth…” (The American College of Cardiology

THIS MONTH’S READER QUESTION

Yes, I think we have to admit it. We can justify anything if we try hard enough…

Q. “Is there any truth to the rumor that red wine is good for your health?”
— Darius Garafola, Toronto, Canada

A. I’d sure like to think so… it would add a semblance of logic and balance to an otherwise admittedly indulgent activity that I continue to delight in year after year. If nothing else, it’s another arrow in the quiver of justification.

The “French Paradox” refers to the paradox of French eating and drinking habits, and their comparatively good health. The fact is, the French eat around three times as much saturated animal fat as Americans do, and only a third as many die from heart attacks. It’s enough to make Jenny Craig and the Surgeon General cringe in dismay (or turn green with envy).

This theory first hit the mainstream in 1992, boosted to international awareness by a now infamous 60 Minutes show. Since then, competing interest groups have tested (and ultimately discarded) dozens of other theories in an attempt to point to other influencing factors, to no avail. Of course, the wine industry loves this theory, because it sells wine. After all, which if us might enjoy another cigar or two if it was suggested that you can reduce throat cancer by doing so?

And as of today, we have yet another reason to moderately indulge in the enjoyment of great red wine. Spanish scientists examined the effects of different types of wine on lung cancer, the most common and deadly form of the disease. According to research team leader Professor Juan Barros-Dios, “Consumption of red wine … was associated with a slight but statistically significant reduction in the development of lung cancer.”

A word of caution (or two) is in order, however. First, stick to red wine. The same study suggests that white wine may, in fact, increase the risk. Second, don’t start binge drinking red wine to avoid cancer. That’s a justification that even I would have a hard time with…

Whatever varietal you prefer, it sounds like a glass or two of red wine on a regular basis probably isn’t bad for you. In fact, it’s quite likely to do you some real good. If not only for your health, you can at least count on it to brighten your outlook, enhance your creativity, make you witty and round out the perfect meal. At least, that’s what I’d like to think… though on rare occasion, I do get different feedback on these issues from my wife…

[Do you have a wine-related question you’d like to ask? If so, contact us and you may see it answered in an upcoming issue!]


VINCONNECTIONS OCTOBER WINE PICKS

2001, Cabernet Sauvignon, Charles Creek,
“La Sonrisa del Tecolote”
Napa Valley, California

IE: A
$26, Grade A
WPL: S
2001, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sebastiani, “Alexander Valley”
Sonoma County, California
IE: A$28, Grade A
WPL: S
2001, Cabernet Sauvignon, Ferrari-Carano
Sonoma County, California
IE: A$28, Grade A
WPL: S
2001, Cabernet Sauvignon, Elizabeth Spencer, “Special Cuvee”
Napa Valley, California
IE: A$28, Grade A
WPL: S
2001, Cabernet Sauvignon, Howard Park, “Leston”
Margaret River, Western Australia
IE: A$30, Grade A
WPL: S

Syrah, the Perfect Red to go with Halloween Chocolates…

2001, Syrah, Herzog, “Special Reserve, Edna Valley”
Central Coast, California
IE: A+$30, Grade A+
WPL: S
2001, Syrah, Russian Hill, “Ellen’s Block, Russian River Valley”
Sonoma County, California
IE: A+$30, Grade A+
WPL: S
2002, Syrah, K Vintners, “The Beautiful Syrah”
Walla Walla Valley, Washington
IE: A+$30, Grade A+
WPL: S
2001, Syrah, Cuvaison, “Carneros”
Napa Valley, California
IE: A$29, Grade A
WPL: S
2001, Syrah, Abacela
Oregon
IE: A$29, Grade A
WPL: S

Zinfull Zinfandel…

2001, Zinfandel, Madrigal, “Napa Valley”
Napa Valley, California
IE: A$26, Grade A
WPL: S
2001, Zinfandel, Renwood, “Jack Rabbit Flat, Amador County”
California
IE: A$30, Grade A
WPL: S
2002, Zinfandel, Moon Mountain, “Monte Rosso”
Sonoma County, California
IE: A, A+, A$30, Grade A
WP: S, BBC
2001, Zinfandel, Easton, “Shenandoah Valley”
California
IE: A-$30, Grade A-
WPL: S
2001, Zinfandel, Rosenblum, “Rust Ridge Vineyard”
Napa Valley, California
IE: A, A$25, Grade A
WPL: BBC

A Medley of Reds…

2001, Jaboulet, “Le Grand PompИe Rouge, Saint-Joseph”
RhЩne, France
IE: A+$26, Grade A+
WPL: S
2001, Hendry Ranch, “Red Wine, Napa Valley”
Napa Valley, California
IE: A+$30, Grade A+
WPL: S
2001, Dom. Bernard Gripa, “Rouge, Saint-Joseph”
RhЩne, France
IE: A+$25, Grade A+
WPL: S
2002, Pierre Gonon, “Rouge, Saint-Joseph”
RhЩne, France
IE: A$27, Grade A
WPL: S
2001, Barlow, “Red Table Wine, Napa Valley”
Napa Valley, California
IE: A-$30, Grade A-
WPL: S

Wine Quote

From the Proverbial “Horse’s Mouth…”

“Individuals reporting moderate amounts of alcohol intake (approximately one to three drinks daily) have a 40 to 50 percent reduction in coronary artery disease risk compared with individuals who are abstinent.”
American College of Cardiology (Quoted in Wine Spectator, October 15, 1996)


DEFINITIONS AND GLOSSARY


Understanding our System

Grade: [A-]
Our grades represent a composite score developed using our proprietary system to blend wine quality and scoring information.

Vintage: 1999
This describes both the year of the actual grape harvest as well as the year the wine was made.

Price: $12
The prices quoted in the WPL are the “suggested retail prices” quoted by the wineries and the distributors. Though these are close to what you’d pay at the winery, you’ll often find discounts of 20% and more off these prices at retail.

Individual Evaluations: IE: A, A-, B+
This represents the number of individual reviews and ratings on which the composite grade is based, primarily representing individual reviews in top wine periodicals converted to our scale, and ratings by our tasting panel.

Wine PocketList Exclusive Categories: WPL: BBC, W, S, B
These are four exclusive WPL categories, and many wines rated by the PocketList will fall into one of these special designations.

[W] Widely Available:
These wines typically have bottling of 20,000 cases or more, making them widely available in most regions of the U.S.

[BBC] Top Buy-by-the-Case:
Based on multiple, outstanding reviews and a solid history, these are wines you can purchase by the case to grow your cellar with confidence today, and into the future!

[B] Bargain Wines:
Top-rated wines for $10 or less. Most of these can go head to head with a typical $30 bottle sporting a fancy label . . . and beat it hands down.

[S] Splurge Wines:
For most of us, spending more than $20 on a bottle of wine isn’t something we do lightly. These are wines that, while more expensive, are well worth the price.

Oksana C
Author: Oksana C

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