Cabernet is good for you!

2010-09-24 12:55

No, really! One of the happiest days of my life was when I discovered that drinking wine was healthy.

Who needs a gym? The French live on a diet of real butter and cream, and all those marvellous cheeses – not to mention plenty of pâté washed down with an average of 54 litres of wine yearly per adult – and still live to a ripe old age.

Compare this with the paltry 7.5 litres consumed by South Africans, who have among the highest heart disease rates in the world.

Of course the French do know how to live. They’ve made an art of it for centuries.

Take the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, for instance.

It is the basis of some of the finest Bordeaux-style blends, and is here often blended with Shiraz and Pinotage.

Originally brought to this country by the French Huguenots, many of whose descendants are still heavily involved in our wine ­industry, it contains resveratrol, which helps the body lower bad cholesterol and increase the good, and polyphenols, a powerful anti-oxidant that helps to prevent cell damage from free radicals.

As if this wasn’t enough, it also has quercitin, which helps to widen blood vessels and prevent blood clotting.

Obviously, two glasses a day of this elixir of life can only be good for you, and especially good for your heart.

Can you imagine if the cigarette people could come up with this sort of data to support smoking?

The powerful psychological ­benefits of drinking wine in good company should also never be ­underestimated, but moderation (try drinking a glass of water after each glass of wine) is the key to healthy consumption.

Characteristics of Cabernet ­include very dark-red fruit ­flavours, typically blackcurrants, plums and cherries, with full mouth feel and plenty of grip, and a nice long ­finish.

Cabernet is grown by hundreds of producers all across South Africa, most of which are at least
quaffable, but with serious ­fluctuations in quality.

Some of our finest Cabernets are produced by estates such as ­Allesverloren, Boekenhoutskloof, Rustenburg, Graham Beck, Meerlust and others.

For sheer value, those from Knorhoek are worth looking at – ­deliciously full of dark-red fruit ­flavours and well supported by subtle oaking.

Foods that go well with Cabernet include red meat casseroles, steak, roast beef, and even the trusty old boerie roll.

No wonder it’s a ­favourite with meat-loving South African red wine drinkers.

For full-flavour enjoyment of your wine, try putting reds in the fridge 20 minutes before drinking and taking whites out 20 minutes before drinking.

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