Thursday, July 3, 2008
Lightning in a Bottle
Health Benefits of Wine
Ordering the right wine can impress your bosses, your dates, and even your cardiologist. Here's how:
Wine has so many health benefits you'd think doctors would be prescribing the stuff by now. Drink a few glasses a week -- particularly red, but white has benefits, too -- and you'll lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and even cancer.
Wine's magic ingredients come from the skin of the grape. Resveratrol protects the body's cells, keeping them young and strong. Saponins bind to bad cholesterol and usher it out of the body. And flavonoids interfere with the multiplication of cancer cells.
Problem is, buying wine can feel like an Olympic event -- as if you're being judged. And don't get me started on the wine culture, which is steeped in pointless snobbery. As if not knowing the difference between chianti and chardonnay makes you a lesser man.
Understanding wine is easy. It comes down to a few basic principles, which I've laid out here. So read on, drink up, and live long.
3 Moves Every Guy Must Master
1.Serving: Serve both red and white at room temperature. A chill can mask a wine's flaws and strengthen the astringent taste of the tannins. At room temperature, the wine's unique flavors -- fruit, oak, whatever -- are more obvious.
2. Decanting: Let wine breathe for 2 to 3 hours. Aeration speeds up the oxidation process that takes years to occur in a sealed bottle. This smooths out the taste and brings out complex flavors and aromas.
3. Tasting: First, give it a sniff, which primes your palate. Take a sip and let the wine hit every part of your mouth. You'll taste several flavors at once. The wine will evolve as you eat, as certain foods bring out different flavors.
How to Navigate a Wine Store
Treat it like a barbershop. Stay loyal to one store, and befriend a clerk who knows about the wines you like. Once he or she understands your tastes, your options will become endless. Here are a few other dos and don'ts.
Don't . . . Buy The label
There's a saying in the wine industry: "Put critters on the label, sell cases." Labels are designed by marketing companies who know how to trick you into buying juice that doesn't pack the thunder. Playful labels and cartoons are major warning signs. Be wary of red or yellow labels, which are designed to stand out.
Do . . . Double-check the ratings card
Often, wine shops post ratings for the wrong year. How much can the quality of wine vary from year to year? A ton. Most 2000 California cabernets are just average wines, for example, but the 2001 vintage is exceptional.
Don't . . . Choose from a display near the counter
Chances are, they're trying to unload wines that didn't sell as well as expected or are aging quickly. Either way, these won't be among the best bottles in the store.
Do . . . Pick up four new wines for every one of your old favorites
This is the key to expanding your palate--and be sure to keep good notes.
Gary Vaynerchuk, Photograph by: Jonathan Kantor
Posted by BACCHUS at 7/03/2008