Madrian wines – like the three bottles above – were found to have the most health benefits.
Saturday, December 15, 2007, 4:06 PM
The holidays are a time for indulgence, but by Jan. 1, all that partying can take its toll. Still, you don’t have to be a teetotaler to end the year in one piece. There is a wine that’s actually good for you: Madiran wine.
Roger Corder, author of the “The Red Wine Diet,” found this wine from the south of France to be the most beneficial to health.
Wine is known to protect against strokes, diabetes and dementia, so Corder, a professor of experimental therapeutics in London, performed tests to learn why. He found that procyanidins – protective anti-oxidants that improve blood-vessel function and prevent heart disease – are what makes red wine so healthy. And Madiran wines proved to have the highest procyanidin levels.
The use of Tannat grapes and the long fermentation of the Madirans are what produce the high levels.
But Madiran wine isn’t the only holiday indulgence with health benefits. The same compounds that make red wine nutritious also appear in some foods. Cranberries, apples and dark chocolate are all crammed with procyanidins.
Luckily, cranberries are in season through Christmas. While your best bet is eating a handful of the fruit raw, a cranberry and apple pie or crumble is a better party dessert than a dairy-and-egg-based cake or mousse.
You can even get away with a vodka and cranberry cocktail if you buy the right juice.
“Cranberry juice is okay, but it’s often very high in sugar,” warns Corder. “So it’s important to drink the lighter varieties and ones with a higher cranberry juice content. You shouldn’t be drinking anything less than a 25% juice, which is a standard Ocean Spray-type strength. But there are some others out there which are sold with 100% cranberry juice.
“Pomegranate juice is another alternative,” Corder adds. “Pomegranate has different [antioxidants]. But there’s quite a lot of research that shows that they have the same beneficial effects in terms of blood-vessel function and protecting your heart.”
As for party snacks, Corder recommends nuts, any fruit, and olives. Definitely stay away from potato chips and cheap chocolates high in sugar.
“If you’re eating snacks with wine, try to eat healthy ones,” he says. “Have a hummus dip with some vegetables – things like carrots and broccoli, celery, peppers. Bell peppers are one of the richest sources of vitamin C.
“Try not to eat too much cheese and meat,” says Corder. “These are all things that you don’t want to overdo if you want to be in not too bad a shape when it comes to the New Year.”
MADIRANS: For a healthy glow, pop open a bottle of Madiran wine at your holiday party. Roger Corder recommends these high-quality brands, all available at great prices here in New York.
1. Chateau Peyros Madiran 2000, $17.99; Cabrini Wines, 831 W. 181st St.; www.cabriniwines.com
2. Chateau Montus Madiran 2003, $22.99; K D Wines and Spirits, 1366 Madison Ave.; www.kdwine.com
3. Laffont 2004 Madiran Cuvee Erigone, $17.99; Chambers Street Wines, 160 Chambers St.; www.chambersstwines.com
ALTERNATIVES TO MADIRAN: If you’re not into Madiran wine or can’t find it in your local liquor store, here are some alternatives that are also highly beneficial to your health. (The first four are available at 67 Wine Spirits, 179 Columbus Ave. www.67wine.com. and the last is sold at Astor Wines Spirits, 399 Lafayette St. www.astorwines.com .)
1. Altos Las Hormigas, Malbec, 2006 ($10.99)
2. Colpetrone, Montefalco Rosso, 2004 ($24.99)
3. Hess Collection, Mountain Cuvee, 2003 ($29.99)
4. Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Veeder, 2003 ($37.99)
5. Sagrantino di Montefalco “Collepiano,” Caprai, 2003 ($49.99)