Dave’s Top 10 Reasons To Love Wine

Dave’s Top 10 Reasons To Love Wine

Beechwood Inn's Wine Cellar

Ten Reasons to love wine

 

There is little in life better than opening a fine bottle of old red wine that you know will be decadently voluptuous.  Old red wine has now become quite an obsession with me, and I no longer feel guilty about this love affair.

I no longer drink wine, I absorb it.  My cellar has subtly vectored or perhaps zoomed in the direction of big red wines.  You know the type, inky brooding monstrous wines that are lustful and decadent.  Give me tannins, straight to my vinjugular, but I want them to be modest and velvety to the touch when young.  However, the tannins must last and last for years, so that the wine can seduce me not only as a newly bottled nymph but also at its most voluptuous maturity.  But woe to me if I fail to absorb them before they have advanced to the crabbedness of old age.  However, even then I cannot jettison an old wine friend, one that has dutifully awaited my attention for years, perhaps decades.  So too the funky last bottles that have hemorrhaged their unctuous dusky liquid onto my cellar floor should not end their existence in some Dumpster wine morgue.

But I digress; I do that a lot lately.  Should I feel guilty about my obsession with wine?  Am I too hedonistic about this love affair with what some would say is a mere beverage?  In my oenoquest for an understanding of this phenomenon I have come across a number of reasons I should not be guilty about this love affair with vino.  Let me share a few with you.

Dave’s Top 10 Reasons To Love Wine

Reason number 1, wine is, be still my beating heart, good for my old ticker. Wine in moderation reduces the bad cholesterol level (LDL), raises the good cholesterol level (HDL) and acts as an anti-coagulant (blood clotting preventer). Good cholesterol clears away bad cholesterol from antheromatous plaques in artery walls and takes it back to the liver for re-metabolism. Wine also contains substances called antioxidants that inhibit bad cholesterol from being incorporated in the artery wall.[i]  Red wine also dilates artery walls and lowers blood pressure.  Cool.

Reason number 2, wine makes my brain click.  Resveratrol is found in abundance in inky dark red wines and offers protection from neurotoxins in my hippocampus region, protecting me from slipping further into the abyss of age related brain whither[ii], pass the Ravenswood please.  Gayle said my memory remains good, at least that’s what I think she said.  I have not been found wandering in my jammies at the nearby Walmart.  In recent studies of the elderly moderate consumption of red wine reduced the incidence of stroke by 32%, Alzheimer’s by 75%, dementia by 80% and macular degeneration by 19%. I attribute my lucidity to my daily doses of resveratrol, in moderation of course.  Moderation seems to be defined as about 3 glasses per day. Thanks to a set of Reidel Sommeliers (30 ounce) stemware I have been able to reduce my consumption to the defined level of moderation.  In fact, resveratrol may even stimulate nerve growth potentially allowing me to grow new brain cells.

Reason number 3, hey Hernando, guess what I found?  Hernando De Soto stomped around Florida and trekked to Texas looking for a way to slow the aging process.  He should have been looking for a winery. One of the main features of the aging process is the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGE), formed by a reaction of sugar with protein in the body.  Resveratrol has been shown to be among the plant substances that prevent the formation of these sugar-damaged proteins[iii]. This same protein reaction is what is believed to make us brown, stiffen and wrinkle with old age, (called the Maillard reaction similar to the browning of your holiday turkey after 6 hours at 350). In addition, Resveratrol has been found to extend the life of yeast cells by 80% by activating sirtuins.  The hypothesis is that polyphenols increase in the grape vine in response to stress and extend the vines life.  Pass that bottle of Ridge, Lyton Springs, and I mean now pardner!

Reason number 4, wine may reduce the risk of certain cancers.  Wine contains more useful antioxidants than vitamin C and E. The strongest antioxidants in nature include resveratrol, quercitin and epicatechin, abundantly suspended in my beloved red wine.  They are five times stronger than vitamin E. No matter how much vitamin E you take its antioxidant activity plateaus at 20 per cent whereas wine’s antioxidants will plateau at 100 per cent after a couple of Reidels of vino.  These antioxidants appear to have an antiproliferative action or a pro-apoptotic action on numerous cell lines coming from hematological cancers such as myeloma.  In other words, not only do cancerous cells not develop, but also they may reduce.  Studies also suggest that a moderate consumption of wine can have a positive effect on cell lines deriving from breast and prostate cancers[iv].

Reason number 5, wine puts you in touch with your feminine side.  Did you know that resveratrol is also a phytoestrogen, which is a very powerful plant substance related to estrogen? Estrogen is known to provide some protection against heart disease[v].  All of this is attributable to sustained skin contact (hold me closer sweetheart I’m feeling better already).  The longer the skin stays in the fermenting must the higher the resveratrol, and other phenolics and flavonoids in the resulting wine.  For you oenovices that means palate dyeing, tooth coating, plaque staining, tongue searing red wine, for healthier happier longer lives.

Reason number 6, my ancient ancestors absorbed wine.  Gayle, my anthropologist wife, has done some genealogical/archeological research that indicates my ancestors were some of the first recorded winemakers. Excavations of ancestral family camps in Turkey, and at Damascus in Syria, have produced accumulations of grape pips from the Stone Age known as Neolithic B some 8,000 years ago.  In fact, my great, great, great, great . . . . Grandfather, in the year 3,000 BC revered wine so much that he had cuttings of grape vines buried with him so that he could plant vines and make wine in his next life. His and other similar tombs have been unearthed in what was Soviet Georgia.  Can you just imagine if I was alive back then?   I might have said, “Yo, Groc, all that wine last night really put me in touch with my feminine side, so why don’t you and the guys go hunting mastodon today and I’ll stay here with the ladies and gather grapes.”

Reason number 7, don’t be ashamed about wanting to take it with you. One close wine friend wants all her Caymus Special Select Cabernet packed with her in the casket. The Pharaohs were famous wine absorbers, and they took it with them, so there is plenty of historical precedent. When the tomb of King Tutankhamen (Tut), who died in 1352 BC, was opened in 1922, wine jars, known as amphora, surrounded the mummy to accompany the royal spirit on its journey.  The labeling of these amphora was almost as sophisticated as it is in California today.  It specified the year, the vineyard, the owner and the head vintner.  There was, however, no warning about sulfides. In the tomb of King Tut were numerous wines from different vintages, some were already quite old.  This indicates that top quality wine was appreciated at a considerable age.  Tut was buried with food and drink for his survival, along with a full compliment of his servants.  One chief vintner, Kha’y by name, made five of the wines of King Tut’s estate, and was buried with him, no doubt prematurely, to make his wine in the hereafter.  David Phinney, if you read this would you be interested in attending my wake and cremation?

Reason number 8, don’t be ashamed of spending lots of money on fine wine. Thomas Jefferson certainly did. Few people realize that Jefferson was an avid collector of recipes and wine. With his knowledge of Europe’s finest vineyards, Jefferson was the wine advisor to several presidents and, at George Washington’s request, selected the first wines to be stocked in the White House. In Jefferson’s records they discovered receipts for hundreds and hundreds of bottles of wine. As president he spent about 10 percent of his $25,000 annual salary on wine. Jefferson certainly was not a drunkard; he simply valued wine. He wrote, “No nation is drunken where wine is cheap and none sober, when the dearness of wine substitutes ardent spirits as a common beverage.” In fact, he was vehemently opposed to luxury taxes on wine, insisting wine was an “innocent gratification” and a “healthy substitute” to whiskey. My cellar now contains about 6800 bottles. Lord, to avoid a maroon Tsunami I am going to need about three years advance notice of my demise.

Reason number 9, but for a small historical oversight, today we would be living in Vineland. One of the most intriguing culs-de-sacs of wine history is the story of Leif Ericson, the first recorded European discoverer of America.  He landed somewhere in New England, around the year 1000.  His first impression was of a country smothered in grapevines, and was recorded in the saga of his voyage as Vinland the Good.  Leif made at least two voyages and started a settlement, in which the first American grape wine was made.  If Leif had me as his agent, this country, instead of taking its name from the obscure Florentine Merchant Amerigo Vespucci, would have been named Vineland after the noblest of fruits.

Reason number 10, wine will improve your love life.  No, I am not referring to the recently postulated Vinagra phenomenon. I am, however, referring to the romance associated with a wonderful bottle of old red wine, a fine meal, candlelight, soft music, a loving spouse, a romantic setting  – perhaps Ladera resort on St. Lucia overlooking the Pitons and the palm framed Caribbean . . . wow, life just doesn’t get much better than that.

Oeons from now the wine bottle containing my ashes may be unearthed by some adventurous oeno-spelunker, just as in 1922, when Pharaoh Tut’s tomb was unearthed after 3,000 years of solitude.  Amphoras of wine, long since vaporized and dry, surrounded the young king’s mummy.  Only the archeologists could discern the nature of the stains of the ancient vintages.  So too, my final resting-place may be dry, with all the ethereal olfactory pleasure having oozed out, leaving only the wine’s and my dusty desiccants intermingled.  Visualize the stupefied oeno-spelunker poring my dust out and remarking “look at the all the sediment in this bad boy.”

My sediments go out to you.  Banyul very much.  David Douro.

Dave’s Top 10 Reasons To Love Wine

[i] “New Data on the French Paradox Theory,” by Elisabeth Holmgren, The Wine Trader, Vol T, No. 3,

[ii] “Grapes and Red Wine as Health Foods,” Healant Health Community, Michael A. Schmidt,  www.altmed.com/connect/experts.cfm?view=showarticle&id=27

[iii] “Grapes and Red Wine as Health Foods,” Healant Health Community, Michael A. Schmidt, www.altmed.com/connect/experts.cfm?view=showarticle&id=27

[iv] “Wine, Mediterranean Diet and Cancer,” Edmond Meroni, Coordinator for the Scientific Council “Wine and Health: Biology and Tumoral Pathology ” General Secretary of IMVANP. Professor Jean-François Rossi, President of the Scientific Council of IMVANP, Hôpital Lapeyronie Montpellier. http://www.vinsetsante.com/a5e.html

[v] “Red Wines Health Benefits May Be Due in Part to ‘Estrogen’ in Grape Skin,” San Diego Earth Times, January 1998, (www.sdearthtimes.com/et0198/et0198s10.html)

 

Dave’s Top 10 Reasons To Love Wine

Visit our wine cellar: https://beechwoodinn.ws/beechwood-inn-wine-cellar/

David Douro is the pseudonym of author David Darugh.  Douro is the wine river in Portugal along which Ports are made.  The author is the General Counsel of the American Wine Society and co-owner of the Beechwood Inn (a bed and breakfast in the North Georgia Mountains www.beechwoodinn.ws).

Dave’s Top 10 Reasons To Love Wine