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Rise of the Super Reds
In the healthy-wine game, skins win What makes red wine red? Those warm hues come from the grape skins that remain in the tank as the wine ferments. Skins also provide resveratrol, an antioxidant that can reduce heart inflammation. Some reds have more antioxidants than others; here’s what to look for, plus four special-occasion ideas from sommeliers. —Kiera Aaron the darkestcolored reds
“Anthocyanins (plantderived antioxidants) are responsible for the red color; darker red wines contain higher amounts,” says Leroy Creasy, Ph.D., a wine researcher and professor emeritus at Cornell Univer sity. Having trouble seeing through the tinted bottle? Choose a cabernet sauvignon, the darkest red wine. Try this
Heitz Cellar Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006, $40 “It’s rich and more balanced than other cabernets,” says Aldo Sohm, sommelier and wine director of New York City’s acclaimed Le Bernardin restaurant. Pair it with steak.
60 N O v e m b e r 2 0 1 2
grown in Sunny vineyards
The theory is that grapes produce more antioxidants when exposed to UV light. James Harbertson, Ph.D., an enologist at Washington State University, suggests trying wines from the Pacific Northwest. In summer, he says, “the farther from the equator, the more daylight hours you have.” Try this
Nelms Road Merlot, 2009, $25 “There’s less rainfall east of the Cascade Mountains, resulting in wines with more complexity and body,” says Bell. “This one is earthy with elements of plum and spice.” Try it with pepper-crusted tuna steak.
If you’re torn between the same types of wine from different years, go with the younger one. “Younger wine has more polyphenols than older wine,” says Waterhouse. “The polyphenols tend to precipitate with age.”
(glass), prop styling Olivia Sammons/Jed Root
Christopher Creek Reserve Petite Sirah, 2009, $35 Here’s a hearty choice for cooler months. Andrew Bell, president of American Sommelier, might pair it with venison. “Game is able to stand up to the strong tannins.”
Ar.Pe.Pe. Rocce Rosse Riserva, Valtellina Superiore Sassella, 1997, $80 Mountainside wines can have a more mineral taste, as opposed to big, bold wines from a flat vineyard, says Sohm. Drink this earthy, subtle wine with pork.
Tannic wines “have high levels of antioxidants overall,” says Andrew Waterhouse, Ph.D., a professor of enology at the University of California at Davis. You’ll recognize tannins by the astringent sensation that makes your mouth dry and sticky. Go for antioxidant-rich petite sirah.
Vines in harsh conditions grow fewer grapes, says Waterhouse. “This means they need to invest more protection in each grape to ensure the survival of the plant.” Enter antioxidants. “More antioxidants make them very tannic and less appetizing for predators, increasing their chance of survival and procreation.”
Mi t c h M a n d e l
full-bodied, tannic wines
From Mountain vineyards