To your health!
Let's celebrate the end of another work week by taking a quick, happy peek at a couple of reports on wine and health that have been in the news this week.
It should be noted that studies of this type, even though conducted by scientists and reported in peer-reviewed journals, examine only facets of an issue and report only statistical effects in the group of individuals under study. In short, we're not advocating that you prescribe wine for yourself as medication, preventive or otherwise. But it still can be fun to read these studies and see what scientists are checking out.
So, if you're getting on in years (and who isn't?), then you'll be intrigued by a recent study that suggests that drinking a little wine and coffee - not necessarily at the same time - may add years to your life.
Reporting at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in San Francisco this week, University of California researchers said they examined the dietary habits and longevity of 13,000 current and former residents over a 13-year period at a Southern California retirement community called Leisure World.
Those who enjoyed at least a glass of wine and a cup of coffee daily (not decaf but the high-octane variety) were statistically more likely to live into their 90s than those who refrained, the study found. For what it's worth, it didn't seem to matter statistically whether individuals drank wine but not coffee, coffee but not wine, or both.
WEB LINK: To read an abstract of this study by UC/Irvine neurologists Maria M. Corrada, Annlia Paganini-Hill and Claudia H. Kawas, click to
Also, the Sydney-based Website News-Medical.net reports, there's good news for wine-loving women: A study by scientists at The Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) suggests that moderate wine intake may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
In a study of 696 women diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer and a control group of 786 cancer-free women, scientists found that women who drank any amount of beverage alcohol seemed to enjoy a reduced risk of ovarian cancer. On average, those who consumed less than one drink of wine, beer or liquor per week showed a 20 percent reduction in the risk for this cancer; women who reported consuming of around 25 grams per day of alcohol (two standard drinks) showed only about one-half the risk of ovarian cancer compared with non-drinkers.
The statistics showed a particularly strong relationship between wine and reduced risk: Wine drinkers in the study group had a lower risk of ovarian cancer than either non-drinkers or women who reported drinking beer or spirits but not wine. The results were particularly striking for red wine, with women who consumed more than one glass of red wine per day being almost seven times less likely to develop ovarian cancer than women in the study group who never drank alcohol.
The Institute's Dr. Penny Webb called the results "slightly surprising," because scientists undertook the study based on the assumption that alcohol consumption would increase the cancer risk. In one of the few consistently negative aspects of wine consumption and health, past studies have shown a slight but significant higher risk of breast cancer among women who drink.
WEB LINKS: A summary of this study is on News-Medical.net at
For a scholarly abstract of the study by QIMR's Penelope M. Webb with David M. Purdie1, Christopher J. Bain and Adele C. Green, see
TALK ABOUT WINE ONLINE
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Today's tasting features an exceptional Cotes-du-Rhone from Saint Cosme, a respected producer in the Southern Rhone's Gigondas region whose roots go back to the fifteenth century. In addition to producing its own Gigondas, Saint Cosme ("SahN Cohme") acts as a "negociant," locating grapes throughout the region for its Cotes-du-Rhones. The result is a wine that could pass for a Rhone red of loftier aspirations than its generic appellation, currently a bit immature. I suggest putting it away for a couple of years to show at its best, when it may emerge as a Gigondas-style wine for a cut-rate price.Saint Cosme 2001 Cotes-du-Rhone ($12.99)
Very dark reddish-purple; glints of bright garnet show when you hold the wine up to the light. Fragrant black pepper aromas add spice to black-plum fruit on the nose, but it's a bit closed and "tight." Same's true of the flavor, where depth is apparent but requires some coaxing to bring out. It opens up with extensive swirling and time in the glass to fine and balanced fruit, fragrant pepper and lemony acidity over smooth tannins, but it seems to be going through a "shy" period. Decanting with vigorous aeration before serving will wake it up a bit. U.S. importer: Michel-Schlumberger Wines Ltd., Healdsburg, Calif., and other regional importers. (April 22, 2004)
FOOD MATCH: The classic antidote for young reds, a rare rib-eye steak, makes an ideal companion, bringing the wine out of its shell.
VALUE: Well worth a low-teens price, particularly if you have the patience to hold it.
WHEN TO DRINK: Although this counters the conventional wisdom for most Cotes-du-Rhones, this one will likely benefit from a couple of years in cool storage.
WEB LINK: I had no luck tracking down a Website for the producer or his U.S. importers today. If any of you find one, please let me know, and I'll pass it on!
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: Look for Saint Cosme on Wine-Searcher.com,
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Friday, April 30, 2004