Wine; WEEKEND: FOOD.
Wine expert Bill Raftery's top tips for tasting and wines of the week... THIS is the time of year when alcohol is often abandoned, but it is worth considering what benefits come from drinking wine.
All alcohol if taken in moderation will improve most people's health, but red wine seems to have very special qualities.
It owes its health-giving properties to the chemicals it contains, flavonoids and other antioxidants. These limit the oxidation process in the body by free radicals, responsible for many diseases. They also help control the levels of cholesterol.
Flavonoids can be more effective as antioxidants than vitamins C and E. They are more abundant in red wine than in any other drink because during red wine-making the skins are retained longer.
Chile has made claims that its climate produces flavonoid-rich wines. A recent study suggested that drinking moderate quantities of red wine is only surpassed by eating fruit and vegetables and taking exercise as a way of avoiding heart attacks.
At one Swindon hospital heart patients are prescribed Chilean Cabernet. But research indicates that wine drinkers enjoy more relaxed lifestyles, BUDGET BUYS Sainsbury's Reserve Selection Chilean Carmenre 2004.
Carmenre, originally confused with Merlot, produces rustic red. Drink with winter casseroles.
Price: Sainsbury, pounds 4.99.
MIDDLE OF THE ROAD Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Chile.
Literally the devil's cellar, excellent value. Drink with lamb.
Price: Widely available, pounds 5.49. SPLASH OUT Alpha Montes Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004, Chile.
Classy, wait for Welsh lamb to appear.
Price: Tesco, pounds 6.99 (reduced from pounds 9.99). Bill Raftery runs regular wine courses at Coventry University. E-mail him at email@example.com