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Archive for March, 2012

Wine May Help Prevent Diabetes

March 29th, 2012 No comments

American studies have shown that drinking wine helps to prevent type-2 diabetes, and a recent study conducted in Europe concurs.  The results, soon to be published in the Journal of International Medicine, were derived by examining numerous variables among thousands of participants.  These included detailed lifestyle and eating habits of individuals living in Italy, Spain, the UK, and other European countries.  Examining the data from this massive selection of people, what was the verdict on alcohol?

The blue circle represents diabetes, and wine may help reduce the risk of diabetes

The blue circle is a universal symbol used to represent diabetes

According to this study, scientists discovered that moderate alcohol use is connected with a 13% lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes in men, and a whopping 20% lower risk in women.  (Ladies, raise your glasses!)  Women who drank primarily fortified wine (as opposed to other types of alcoholic beverages) fared even better; their risk factor of developing diabetes was 32% less than the norm.

Another very interesting finding had to do with weight.  Moderate alcohol intake reduced the risk of diabetes in overweight participants much more than participants who were of average build.  Scientists could not explain why this was so, but have theorized that heavier folks may metabolize alcohol quicker.

In short, the study reports that moderate alcohol consumption lessens one’s chances of developing type-2 diabetes.  Wine drinkers, especially, had the highest percentage of protection.  This is welcomed news for the world of wine!

*This blog does not constitute medical advice.  Consult your primary care physician before making changes to your diet or lifestyle.   Women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects.

What to Look for in Tawny Port

March 27th, 2012 No comments

Unlike its ruby cousin, tawny port’s signature color is a bit lighter, as is its body.  Simply put, it’s a more delicate wine that exhibits some of the softer traits of vintage port.  Unlike expensive vintage port, however, tawny port is available at a fraction of the cost.

a glass of tawny port

Photo by Jon Sullivan

Tawny port is produced by blending older port wines.  Similar to ruby port, tawny port is also aged before bottling.  The time spent aging is usually between two and seven years.  Unlike sweeter rubies, tawny port features flavors of darker fruits and berries, as well as ripe plums.  Comparatively, a glass of tawny is richer with tannins.  And compared to their older, vintage cousins, non-vintage tawny ports are less dry and their tannins, while robust, are more mellifluous.

If tawny port’s tannins are a bit much for you, it’s okay to let a bottle of tawny sit for a bit; its tannins soften substantially as it ages.  Because it’s not as “forward” as ruby port, be sure to serve tawny port in proper port glasses.  Riedel Sommeliers Vintage Port Glasses are ideal because they are designed to reveal port’s pleasant, subtle aromas that are often masked by the smell of alcohol when served in larger glasses.  If you’ve enjoyed ruby port, perhaps it’s time to give tawny a try?  Cheers!

Did you catch our post last week on ruby port?

What to Look for in Ruby Port

March 22nd, 2012 No comments

Of all the varieties of port, ruby port is arguably the smoothest.  Many wine drinkers unfamiliar with the world of port can easily enjoy glasses of this sweet, deep red wine.  Sampling ruby port is a fantastic way for wine drinkers to become familiar with port wine, and though often less complex than their tawny cousins, good ruby wines can also be appreciated by port connoisseurs.drink ruby port shortly after it is bottled

Ruby port (made from the grapes Toriga Francesca, Toriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Barrocca, and Tinto Cao) is a bright, deep red-colored wine.  Rather than being made from a blend of grapes harvested during one given season, ruby port utilizes grapes that come from many vintages.  The blend is then aged in wooden casks for around three years prior to bottling.  A sweet wine, you should expect your glass to be brimming with red cherry and fresh plum flavors.  Its finish should be long, smooth, and very warm; port is the perfect nightcap to a date on a cool, spring night!

Unlike most other wines, ruby port needs to be enjoyed shortly after it is has been bottled.  (Remember, it already spent nearly three years maturing in a wooden cask.)  Because of this, when looking for bottles of ruby port in your local wine shop, be wary of older bottles; they will almost always be disappointing.  If you’re unsure about which bottle of ruby port to take home, attend a tasting and try a few glasses of different rubies before making your selection.  If your area wine shop doesn’t offer many opportunities to taste port, consider ordering a glass of ruby with your dessert the next time you go out for dinner.  Bring a pad of paper, and take a few notes.  If you’re out with others, convince everyone in your party to order a different ruby port so you can sample and compare them.  (Now, that’s fun!)  Though less expensive than other port wines, ruby port serves as an excellent introduction to the world of port.  When you do find a bottle that suits your fancy, remember to enjoy it with appropriate glassware such as Riedel Sommeliers Vintage Port Glasses. Cheers!

Stay tuned for our next post–we’ll tell you what to look for in Tawny Port as well!

Take a Bath, A Wine Bath!

March 20th, 2012 No comments

Bathtub

There’s been a lot of discussion about the benefits of wine consumption, lately, but a new trend has appeared that takes wine enrichment to the next level: bathing in it!  That’s right, it’s called “vinotherapy,” and it purportedly reduces wrinkles, repositions unsightly cellulite, and even helps lift the face.   Begun in the world’s first “wine spa” in France (appropriately), the full-body wine treatment also includes being wrapped and massaged in delightfully-aromatic wine extracts.  The “secret” to the procedure is grape seed oil, which is believed to increase blood circulation when applied topically.  Participants often begin their vinotherapy regimens by bathing in a jacuzzi of warm, red wine, since the force of the jets offers cardiovascular benefits.  To minimize cellulite, a wine and honey wrap is then applied, or a Merlot wrap designed to refresh the skin and help eliminate toxins.  Some people even follow this treatment with an all-grape diet for 3 days following the procedure (Though I doubt your doctor will approve)!  If your face could use a tune-up, a  “vinolift” may also be in order.  This natural facelift procedure utilizes resveratrol (found in grape skins), as well as gentle electrical pulsation.

Even though antioxidants found in grapes have been shown to slow the aging process, skeptics remain unconvinced that the amount of them absorbed through the skin during vinotherapy provides much benefit.  Still, if you’re a wine lover looking for an unforgettable spa experience, vinotherapy may be a nice preview of heaven.  Cheers!

Featuring: The WineKeeper 3-Bottle Executive

March 15th, 2012 No comments
WineKeeper 3-Bottle Executive

The WineKeeper 3-Bottle Executive

Ever have a really good glass of wine you’d like to savor forever?  If not forever, how about one you’d want to keep around to sip on over the next few weeks?

We’ve all had those magic bottles of wine we wanted to keep around for little tastes, but couldn’t preserve adequately for more than a few days.  With the WineKeeper 3-Bottle Executive, however, the game changes!  Designed to elegantly display three wine bottles, the WineKeeper 3-Bottle Executive keeps your wine chilled, ready to dispense, and well-preserved for weeks!  Now, you can keep that “magic” bottle around to savor!  Available in a modern black or traditional oak finish, the WineKeeper 3-Bottle Executive can easily match your kitchen or wine room decor.  Lightweight (12 lbs.) and easy to move, the WineKeeper 3-Bottle Executive uses easy-to-replace Argon or Nitrogen canisters.  It makes a perfect, portable wine dispenser at parties, as well as at home.  Don’t let that good bottle of wine go to waste!  Keep it fresh and chilled with the WineKeeper 3-Bottle Executive.

Winos, Healers, and Wine Weirdos: Four Historical Personalities

March 13th, 2012 No comments
Frederick the Great

Frederick the Great, who brewed his coffee with Champagne instead of water

Here are four interesting people who really enjoyed their wine!  (Whoever said history had to be dry?)

  1. Frederick the Great (1712-1786), King of Prussia, brewed his own coffee with Champagne instead of water, adding a little bit of powdered mustard to make the flavor stronger.  (Note: for anyone adventurous enough to try this at home, do not put Champagne into your Mr. Coffee® machine; use an easy-to-clean French press, instead.)
  2. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), in his day, earned $25,000 a year.  From that amount, he annually spent around $3,000 on wine, alone.  (That’s quite a bit, considering the time period!)  He admired good Madeira and Bordeaux, and helped to stock the wine cellars of the first five presidents of the United States.
  3. Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), composer, writer, philosopher, mystic, and Benedictine abbess, prescribed herb-infused wine for pain relief.  “One who is in pain from a stone should take parsley and add a third part saxifrage. He should cook this in wine, strain it through a cloth, and drink it in a sauna.”
  4. Dr. John Carmichael (1761-1837), a surgeon at Fort Adams, enjoyed his wine collection so much that he spent the majority of his later days in a rocking chair, staring at his wine cellar.  His will included specific instructions about how he was to be buried, following his death: before the burial, his friends were to move the casket containing his body to the wine cellar, then drink his entire collection of wine in its presence.  Following two full days of dutifully emptying his cellar, Dr. Carmichael’s friends forgot what they had done with his body!  After sober reflection, the casket was eventually found, and Dr. Carmichael was given a proper burial.

Spotlight: The Vintage Series Wine Room 2600

March 8th, 2012 No comments
Vintage Series Wine Room 2600

Vintage Series Wine Room 2600

Looking for an alternative to an actual wine cellar in your basement?  Ever consider a freestanding, walk-in wine cellar?  That’s right!  Vintage Series wine rooms are easy-to-assemble, walk-in wine rooms that are all-in-one wine cooling and storage facilities.  Made from reinforced panels to prevent warping, and featuring a built-in Breezaire cooling unit to ensure precise wine storage temperature control, the Vintage Series Wine Room 2600 is an excellent, self-contained alternative to a traditional wine cellar.

You’re even able to customize your Vintage Series Wine Room by selecting an appropriate wood type and stain of your choice.  Your unit’s door can be made of solid wood, or you may opt for a door with a window.  You’re also able to add split panels, interior lighting, double insulation, and a security lock to your wine room, if desired.  The Vintage Series Wine Room 2600 features a premium Breezaire cooling unit, a natural oak and mahogany interior, quality redwood racking, empty floor space to stake cases of wine, and a 3-year warranty on the cooling unit and cabinet.  What is more, this wine room can hold up to 2,540 bottles of wine.  For a freestanding wine room, a capacity like this is fantastic!

For less than half the cost of having your boiler and hot water tank replaced (based on average replacement costs), you can have an attractive, fully-functional wine room in your own home! Consider this, or one of our many other wine room options, as a practical option for nearly any home. Need more information? Give us a call at 1-800-876-8789 and one of our wine storage experts will be delighted to help.

If You’re Going to Drink, Choose Red!

March 6th, 2012 No comments

Pink Ribbon for Breast Cancer AwarenessThere have been a lot of benefits associated with drinking red wine.  Now, a study at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at Los Angeles has demonstrated that a glass of red wine a day may help reduce the risk of breast cancer.  What did the researchers find?  Chemicals just under the skins of red grapes (and in their seeds)  lowered women’s estrogen levels slightly (and also boosted testosterone levels).  How is estrogen control helpful?  Elevated levels of estrogen, in women, puts them at a greater risk of developing breast cancer cells.  Lower estrogen levels decrease the risk of this cancer.  Women participating in this study who drank red wine experienced lowered levels of estrogen, while women who drank white wine exhibited no estrogen reduction.

As with most studies, researchers stressed that further studies are still required.  Even so, it’s interesting that moderate amounts of red wine have shown a beneficial estrogen-reducing effect, while white wine displayed no impact on estrogen.  Dr. Chrisandra Shufelt, assistant director of the Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, has commented that “If you were to have a glass of wine with dinner, you may want to consider a glass of red. Switching may shift your risk.”  This is some curious food for thought.

Please note that of course this blog does not constitute medical advice.  Consult your primary care physician before making changes to your diet or lifestyle.   Women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects.

Wine and Spice: Hot Foods & Wines to Choose

March 1st, 2012 No comments

It’s still winter, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the season for spicy food.  In fact, a good meal filled with spicy delights might be just the thing to warm you up!  Are you eyeing that jalapeño?  Are red, hot chili peppers calling your name?  Here are some wines that are sure to complement your spicy food’s zestiness!

red hot chili pepperIf your dish contains mild, flavor-rich peppers (like chili peppers or cherry peppers), consider having a glass of Malbec on hand to soften the burn.  If Malbecs seem too “big” for you, perhaps a fruit-flavored Pinot Noir will be an acceptable counterpoint to your cuisine?  And if you’re a diehard white wine drinker, never fear; dry Rieslings will also soothe your taste buds while simultaneously pairing well with your meal.

If your dish is so hot that it could be labeled “nuclear,” consider pairing it with a wine that has a lower alcohol content and is also on the sweeter side.  A German Riesling with low a low level of alcohol, such as Spätlese, is an excellent choice (as is an Alsatian Gewurztraminer).

Don’t be afraid to pair your spicy, winter cuisine with a bottle of white or red listed above.  You’ll be surprised how a decent, appropriate bottle can compliment even the hottest of peppers.  Cheers!