Thursday, 30 April 2009

Wine for the Health Conscious

I read a very interesting article on the Guardian website today,, all about how wine can help men to live up to 5 years longer than a teetotaller, and have less chance of a heart attack as well! The research conducted by Dr Marinette Streppel at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands and went on to be published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

It found that men, who consumed less than 20 grams of alcohol daily over an extended period, could prolong their life by up to two years more than those who avoided any alcohol at all. It also discovered that men, who drink less than half a glass of wine specifically on a daily basis, can live two and a half years longer than those who drink beer and spirits. Not only that but they can also live an average five years longer than someone who is completely teetotal; of those five years, researchers attributed two years to the effect of alcohol intake and the other three years to the effects of wine consumption.

Interestingly, the survey showed that 70% of the wine consumed during it was red. Here in the UK, we might want to take note of that as last year we ‘only’ drank 720 million bottles of the red stuff, in comparison to 764 million bottles of white, but a mere 150 million bottles of rose (that’s over 1,634 million bottles of wine we drank as a nation last year…wow!)

Alcohol campaigners, unsurprisingly, see the idea of promoting drinking as a healthy option as dangerous, pointing out that there is a drop in life expectancy of men consuming more that half a glass of wine per day. They’re not alone, with other research this year already highlighting the dangers to women, with results showing that women who drank a small glass of wine per day had an increased chance of getting cancer.

Both of these research studies highlight just how far away we are on concluding whether or not wine is good for your health. In my opinion, we’ll probably never get there, but I think as long as people are sensible with their alcohol consumption and follow both guidelines on the topic, as well as leading a healthy lifestyle – que sera, sera!

Monday, 27 April 2009

When in Rome....

Recently I went on holiday to Italy; where I stayed just outside Rome in a town called Marino, which some of you may know has a wine festival every year. During this, all the fountains in town are filled with the local sweet white wine, and distributed freely to everyone. They make a real day of it with processions, music and period costumes attracting thousands from all over the region.

However due to bad planning on our behalf, we were six months too early, or six months too late if you want to look at it from another point of view! Despite that, waking up every morning overlooking numerous vineyards was amazing – even if they were all pruned back and dormant, waiting for their time in the spring to burst into action.

Desperate to at least taste some of the local wine, we headed to
the local pizzeria to sample their culinary delights. At the rear of the pizzeria is one of the hundreds of small local vineyard and olive groves, which meant
that the wine on the menu was literally on tap! We decided to brave and ordered a litre of the house white. What arrived at our table was nothing short of amazing, a wonderfully youthful and fruit driven Chardonnay, it wasn’t a great wine in the terms of Bordeaux, but a really enjoyable and refreshing white with a slight sparkle.

After spending another night at the restaurant drinking more of this fabulous wine, we decided to grab a couple of bottles to bring home with us on our final day. Walking in to the shop we found the bottle for only €2 a bottle, for that price it was absolutely stunning!

It would seem that unfortunately you can’t buy it online, but here are a couple of pictures anyway!

If anyone manages to find it let me know!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

The Worlds Oldest Champagne

I read an interesting g article today on The Times Online about the tasting of the oldest champagne in the world – a bottle of an1825 Perrier-Jouẽt, which was sealed 184 years ago!

All of the critics were understandably excited to be involved in such a historic tasting, but of course opinions differed on the actual taste differed. The critics described the bottle as having a taste of mushroom and white truffles, with honey and gingerbread creeping in too.

Whilst many of you may wonder why you would want to drink a bottle of champagne, which at 184 years old had few bubbles left and taste of mushroom, when the complexities started to appear I can only imagine how fantastic it tasted!

Perrier-Jouẽt have got two more bottles of champagne from 1825 stored deep in their cellars, which unfortunately they say they won’t be opening in the near future. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that when they do I’ll be there!

Friday, 24 April 2009

The Beginning

Hi and welcome to my brand new blog. Over the next few months I am hoping to fill it with news from the wine industry, alongside wine tastings and tips on how to get the most out of your wine - even if you don't know your Chardonnay from your Sauvignon.

Any comments are more than welcome and I look forward to hearing from you all!