Ever wonder how the French seem to indulge in bread and cheese and all sorts of good stuff, yet don't suffer from heart disease (at least not like Americans)? Many people have. It's even got its own name: The French Paradox. Is it something in the water? Nah. Portion Control? Probably, but that's such a boring explanation. What about exercise? Nope, exercise is no more prevalent in Gallic culture than anywhere else in the world. So what gives?! (You know, besides that whole lame portion control thing).
Wine. Too good to be true, right? Wine being the key to good health. Well this isn't just some run of the mill everyday wine. It's different. It's red. It's rich. And it comes from a specific type of grape from the South of France: Tannat.
Reserve Some Resveratrol
One reason why red wine has been recommended as being "healthy" is the presence of Resveratrol. Resveratrol is a natural phenol that protects the grape vine from pathological attacks. This antioxidant also provides the same protection to the human body. Wines that are high in tannins tend to be high in Resveratrol. And I bet you can't guess which type of grape tends to be particularly high in tannins. That's right, Tannat!
These tannins result from a thicker skin and extra seeds. While most grapes that are used for fine wine tend to have only 3 or 4 seeds, Tannat grapes contain 5. This results in more tannins and thus more antioxidants. Wine-lovers may be familiar with tannins and think that all tannic wines are harsh and undrinkable. However, wine makers have invented methods such as micro-oxygenation to soften flavor profiles of these highly tannic wines so they can be both good to drink and good for you.
The Straight Vine
Ok...so...full disclosure: the jury is still out as to whether the French Paradox (lack of heart disease) is completely due to wine. The health benefits of Tannat, however, have been well documented, and they're delicious so you should check them out either way.
I personally recommend Chateau Lafitte Teston Madiran 2009. It's my favorite and it's fantastic. But there are so many varieties of Tannat out there, why stop with one. Just remember the words of Oscar Wilde:
Everything in moderation, even moderation.