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One shot of red wine or alcohol benefits the heart February 14, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Drinks & Beverages, Health.
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One Shot of red wine or alcohol benefits the heart and blood vessels, but two shots are stressful

One drink of either red wine or alcohol slightly benefits the heart and blood vessels, but the positive effects on specific biological markers disappear with two drinks, say researchers at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre of the Toronto General Hospital.

In a study entitled “Dose-related effects of red wine and alcohol on hemodynamics, sympathetic nerve activity, and arterial diameter”, published in the February edition of the American Journal of Physiology, Heart and Circulatory Physiology, researchers conducted a real-time study of thirteen volunteers to determine whether a red wine with a verified high polyphenol content differs from alcohol in its effects on specific markers associated with a greater risk of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and heart failure.

A large number of population studies have shown a protective effect of light or moderate alcohol drinking against the risk of death and the development of heart disease. Many studies have also reported specific benefits of red wine.

Population surveys found lower rates of heart disease, despite high-fat diets, in some European countries where red wine was consumed regularly. Widely known at the French paradox, this has created a huge interest in exploring if and how red wine has a protective effect against heart disease.

However, the findings of this study showed virtually identical effects of red wine and alcohol on the specific markers tested. After one drink of either red wine or alcohol, blood vessels were more “relaxed” or dilated, which reduced the amount of work the heart had to do. But, after two drinks, the heart rate, amount of blood pumped out of the heart, and action of the sympathetic nervous system all increased. At the same time, the ability of the blood vessels to expand in response to an increase in blood flow diminished. This counteracted the beneficial effect of one drink of red wine or alcohol.

“We had anticipated that many of the effects of one ethanol drink would be enhanced by red wine. What was most surprising was how similar the effects were of red wine and ethanol. Any benefits that we found were not specific to red wine,” said Dr. John Floras, Director of Cardiology Research at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, and at Mount Sinai Hospital, in whose laboratory the study was performed. However, Dr. Floras cautioned this study measured the effects of these drinks on one occasion only. The effects of daily wine or alcohol intake may be quite different.

The laboratory of Dr. Floras, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Integrative Cardiovascular Biology and is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and a Career Investigator of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, is one of the few in the world equipped to measure simultaneously a broad spectrum of factors such as blood pressure, heart rate, sympathetic nerve firing and arterial diameter.

Healthy, non-smoking adults who were not heavy drinkers or total alcohol abstainers were studied. Participants attended three separate morning sessions during which “standard” drinks of red wine, ethanol or water were administered at random, single-blind, two weeks apart. A 4-oz glass of wine (120 ml), and a 1.5-oz (44 ml) shot of spirits is considered to be one standard drink. All blood alcohol levels alcoholic were below .08, the legal limit for drivers.

The Quality Assurance Laboratory of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario selected a moderately priced pinot noir with a verified high t-resveratrol content, a polyphenol compound found in plants, including red grapes, which exhibits antioxidant properties. Alcohol or substances in alcohol such as resveratrol may improve blood vessel function and also prevent platelets in the blood from sticking together, which may reduce clot formation and the risk of heart attack or stroke.


The most expensive bottle of wine October 2, 2007

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Rare large format of Bordeaux wine expected to be most expensive bottle of wine ever sold at auction worldwide

An exceedingly rare Imperial, equivalent to 8 regular bottles, of the legendary 1961 vintage of Chateau Petrus is scheduled to be auctioned in Chicago by Edward Roberts International at the Columbia Yacht Club, a permanently docked ship located at Randolph Street on Lake Michigan, on Sunday, October 28th, 2007.

This Imperial, which is estimated to sell for $150,000, inclusive of Buyers’ Premium, would be the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold at auction worldwide. It is part of an extraordinary collection of large format bottles of rare great growth Bordeaux from exceptional vintages including > A Jeroboam, equivalent to 6 regular bottles, of 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, and Magnums, equivalent to 2 regular bottles, of 1921, 1947 and 1961 Chateau Petrus; 1945 and 1982 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild; and 1961 Chateau Latour-A-Pomerol; all of which will be offered in this auction.

An Italian star is born October 2, 2007

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Diageo Chateau and Estate Wines introduces Stellina Di Notte Pinot Grigio

The new Stellina di Notte Pinot Grigio, from romantic northeast Italy, was released in late September and can now be found in stores. Stellina di Notte, meaning “little night star,” is a classic example of Pinot Grigio from the Delle Venezie Indicazione Geographica Tipica or IGT, also known as the Tre Venezie or Three Venices region. The area, which includes Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, home to the city of Venice, and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, is renowned for its Pinot Grigio grapes and beautiful night skies. The 2006 Stellina di Notte Pinot Grigio features alluring aromas of melon, kiwi, and golden apple. Smooth and silky on the palate, it offers lush tropical fruit and citrus flavors, balanced by a pleasant minerality. The wine will sell for a suggested retail price of $10.

The three areas of the Venezie, where grapes for Stellina are sourced, are known for their high altitude, cool summers and warm currants from the Adriatic Sea. The soils of the regions are calcareous and marly. These conditions are ideal for growing Pinot Grigio and allow the varietal to fully express its potential.

Stellina di Notte Pinot Grigio is crafted by Italian winemaker Stefano Pesci. As the grandson of a winegrower and son of an enologist, wine was a family passion that interested Pesci as well. He gained crucial winemaking skills during his six years of study at Istituto Superiore Specializzato in Viticoltura e l’Enologia di Alba, a prestigious wine school based in his hometown of Alba, Italy. Working for small, family-owned wineries during the summers enabled him to experience first hand what he learned in school. He continued his wine education by attending the University of Turin where he studied all aspects of wine science. Eventually, his experience led him to the Diageo Brand Technical Center based in Italy.

Stellina di Notte Pinot Grigio taps into America’s growing demand for Italian Pinot Grigio, which is currently experiencing double digit growth rates. Recent IRI data shows Pinot Grigio is the leading import wine sold in the United States. Statistics also show Pinot Grigio is the 4th largest varietal in retail sales in the US and continues to be one of the fastest-growing varietals.

Some reasons to love Chardonnay September 23, 2007

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Chardonnay has endured a bad rap over the years, considered by many as so aggressively oaky and lacking in style that it could never be considered a serious choice for the sophisticated drinker.

It’s been labeled ‘naff’, adopted by ‘foxy ladies’ Kath and Kim (‘get us a glass of cardonnay’) and dismissed by the younger set as deeply suburban in short it’s been a tough few decades for the Chardonnay grape. The Chardonnays of today are of a different breed, here are my reasons for considering it to be such a fantastic wine variety.

It’s a fantastic food wine, as our culinary expertise has developed we are more comfortable eating and cooking more complex dishes and flavours. Chardonnay is an adaptable food wine able to stand up to rich flavours without the threat of being overwhelmed. There are plenty of more delicate styles for those dishes that require a lighter touch, but on the whole I consider it to be one of the most versatile wines available.

Value for money is readily available, you can get some great value Chardonnays in the $12 – $15 bracket and if you are prepared to spend even a few dollars more you can often move up to the next tier of wines for something a little extra special.

Depth, flavour and complexity, in my opinion no wine offers greater depth of flavour and more beguiling complexity than a good Chardonnay, it can be elegant and restrained or a lush blockbuster. The Chardonnay grape is amazingly adaptable to so many styles of winemaking that there’s practically a style for every mood you are in, a one trick pony this variety is not.

Oak is good, many people have been put off Chardonnay in the past because they have come across many that have been too heavily oaked. Most producers these days have got the message to pull back and now use oak more discriminately to craft some very deft wines indeed.

However, if you’ve been scarred for life or are just not a fan of oaky wines, there are plenty of lightly oaked and unoaked Chardonnays now available that still offer varietal charm without being over-powering.