18 Incredible New Health Benefits when enjoying French Wine
- A check into the fridge and the wine cabinet and GRRRR. The bottles are LARGE!
- I want a glass of wine (maybe a bit more) – but surely not a bottle. What to do?
- Mix a gin and tonic or a scotch on the rocks, or settle for a Diet Coke (never a viable alternative)?
For almost two years, I have been locked in a space that appears to shrink, minute by minute. The clock on my computer seems to run very slowly, and it takes forever to reach the time to officially STOP. Finally, it is 5 PM, an appropriate time to shut down and open up a bottle of French wine.
French Wine Images
There are many levels of pleasures associated with thinking about French wine: the beautiful old chateaux, the lush green vineyards; the vines hanging with grapes bursting with potential; fresh sweet, and pungent air resplendent with organic fertilization; the buzz of bees harvesting nectar to feed their workers.
And then, there is the wine itself. French wines are rarely subtle – you either love what hits your nose, coats your tongue, lingers briefly in your mouth, and leaves a memory that fleetingly visits and then gently disappears… allowing a perfect moment to lift the glass in anticipation of the next sip… or you don’t.
For centuries, the wines of France have been a coveted, cherished, savored beverage around the world. The French notion of “terroir” includes everything from the area temperature to the acidity of the soil – all significantly impacting and influencing the quality, taste, smell, and flavor of the grapes used to produce the wine.
Throughout history, environmental factors have influenced wines, from global warming to industrialization, and population movements, to a myriad of other events that are serendipitous and cannot be controlled. Currently, the challenges facing French winemakers include tariffs, shipment delays, container shortages, late arrivals, currency fluctuations, and the “elephant in the room,” COVID-19. With all the issues facing the French wine business, an industry that employs approximately 558,000 workers (2017), people are fearful that many small family vineyards will be unable to withstand the current onslaught of challenges and either close or sell to larger wine producers.
The reality of a shock to the French wine market was a surprise as the market for fine wines has been dominated by France, with Bordeaux and Burgundy accounting respectively for close to 50 percent and 20 percent of the trading activity in 2019 (Live-ex.com). Fortunately, there is good news – in the first half of 2021, France exported 7.3 million hectoliters of wine valued at 5.1 billion Euros representing increases of 15 percent by volume and 40 percent by value compared with the first six months of 2020, during the lockdown. French wine exports are outpacing those during the first wave of COVID and are returning to growth rates in excess of pre-COVID performances.
The American market is once again buying French wine since the suspension of Trump/Airbus taxes for still wines, not to mention record shipments of sparkling wines, including Champagnes. In April 2021 France exported 221,000 hectoliters of wine valued at 208 Euros which equates to a staggering 90 percent volume and 131 percent value increase compared to April 2020 (vitisphere.com).
Benefits of Drinking Wine
It is wonderfully reassuring to know that sipping a glass of French wine is good for my health as the grapes are the source of the many benefits. Wine delivers manganese, potassium, iron, phosphorus and Vitamin B6. It also contains magnesium, a mineral that can help to lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, reducing risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. The antioxidants in wine fight cell damage in our bodies caused by aging and environmental factors such as pollution and lifestyle. By preventing and reversing this cell damage a diet high in antioxidants can reduce risks of developing chronic diseases including cancer.
French wines are a wonderful treat for dieters as there are only 121 calories in a 150 milliliter of white wine and moderate sips may promote kidney health, and protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Red wine (with 127 calories) has higher vitamin and mineral content and contains almost 10 times the number of polyphenols (plant compounds that have antioxidant properties) as white wine.
So – there is the news and good news. French wines are available in the USA and they not only taste good, but they are also good for my health.
However, I still have the dilemma of bottle size. A bottle containing 25 fluid ounces is now widely accepted as standard for wine. Recently, smaller bottles have become widely available. The impact of smaller bottles on consumption is unknown although the smaller bottle has the potential to decrease consumption by increasing the effort required to open and consume more than one bottle. Smaller bottles may also increase consumption by reducing barriers and therefore increase the frequency of drinking episodes. The amount of wine held in smaller bottles may be perceived as too small. Studies suggest that visual exposure to larger portion sizes may adjust perceptions of what constitutes a “normal” sized portion. If smaller bottles are perceived as too small, this could inadvertently lead to overconsumption of wine, as additional bottles are opened and consumed during a drinking event.
Found the Answer
The good news is that LGV wines are available in slender 6.3 ounces plastic cylinders (8 inches tall, a diameter of slightly more than 1 inch with a screw cap), offering just a bit more than an average amount poured into a wine glass making for the perfect sip as I sit by myself in front of my computer screen, trying to stay awake during a Zoom meeting.
While this single-serve size is an incentive for me to keep a stock of red and wine LGV wines in my wine cabinet and chilled in the refrigerator, I want to drink wines that are as good or better than anything available in a larger size.
More good news. LGV has partnered with many wineries led or co-directed by women, including Elisabeth Prataviera (Domaine de Menard & Haut-Marin), Ines Andrieu (Domaine de Caylus) and Martine Nadal (Domaine Nadal Hainaut) – all associated with organic vineyards practicing sustainable farming.
With smaller size plastic bottles, the wines are perfect in size, encouraging experimentation and exploration of red, white and rose wines from boutique wine producers.
1. Ines Andrieu. Domaine Caylus Rose Blend 2020. A blend of organic grown grapes using Syrah (60 percent) and Grenache (40 percent).
From the southern part of France (Pays d’Heralult – a section of the larger Languedoc-Roussillon region), this is love at first light coral pink wine (I can image a summer frock of this pale frail coral/pink). The aroma makes my nose happy as it delivers hints of strawberry and citrus. The palate is pleased with suggestions of apples, pineapples and a trace of spice. Perfect for sipping at the pool as the sun sets and bathers retreat to prepare for dinner.
2. Gerard Damidot. Chateau Val d’Arenc Bandol 2020. A blend of Mourvèdre (80 percent), Grenache (10 percent) with Consault (10 percent).
Located in Provence (mountain pass, Quartier Val d’Arenc), the estate is managed by winemaker Gerald Damidot (from Burgundy) who has transformed the vineyard to organic farming practices (2015) and this process impacts positively on the quality of the grapes. The vineyard soil is composed of limestone, fossils, sandy marl, marly clay and sandstone bedrock with not a pesticide or chemical anywhere; pruning and harvesting tasks are completed by hand. Bandol is considered to be France’s finest rose consistently ranked higher than 90 points.
The Bandol presents a beige pink color to the eye, delivers vibes of white peach, pink grapefruit, strawberry, lemon and lime to the nose, while berries and citrus entertain the palate. A bright and breezy acidity makes it the perfect BFF for salads, quiche, bouillabaisse, and cold roast chicken picnics.
3. Elisabeth Prataviera. Domaine de Menard. Sauvignon Blanc (100 percent) 2020.
The 150 hectares of vineyards are located in the small village of Gondrin, in the I.G.P area of Cote de Gascony on ancient terroir where the vines are planted in shallow, stony, fossil-rich soil using only organic fertilizers. The harvests are completed at night or early morning.
The eye appeal is almost fresh water clear with golden highlights. Think flowers and fruit (especially grapefruit, apples, and lemons) that deliver a spring-like aroma to the nose. More flowers than fruit coat the palate with a surprisingly bracing and light acidity finish. Perfect for spring and summer dining with salmon and cold-water lobster tails or enjoy as a “stand alone.”
4. Martine and Jean-Marie Nadal. Martine Nadal. Nadal-Hainaut. Cabernet Sauvignon (100 percent) 2019.
Jean Marie Nadal is the fifth generation on the estate which has 43 hectares planted with vines in the heart of Languedoc-Roussillon (beginning in 1826). As the owner and winemaker, Nadal supports sustainable agriculture and in 2010 converted the operation to organic farming. The grapes are harvested in the early morning and sorted manually before being placed in the tank. Aged in new French oak barrels.
If a deep dark purple appeals to your sight and the aroma of ripe black cherries and wet wood (deep in the forest), dried blackberries, plums and dark red fruit entertain your palate, delivering bold tannins… is your idea of a delicious wine, you will be a happy camper with this taste experience. Pair with rare roast beef, veal or pasta.
5. Laurence and Stephane Dupuch. Peyredon Crus Bourgeois Haut-Medoc 2019. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (63 percent), Merlot (37 percent).
Crus Bourgeois is a wine classification of Bordeaux, France that was initiated in 1932 and restarted February 20, 2020. It exclusively covers red wines produced in eight appellations on the Left Bank Medoc region that were not associated with the 1855 classification of wine, but are currently considered “excellent.” This classification is renewed every five years.
The 24-acre vineyards are located in Poujeaux. Garnet hues reward the eye while the nose is amused with stone fruits, fresh toast and mild spice. The estate produces wines that are French oak aged with classic black-currant tones as well as hints of vanilla, tobacco, blackberries, plums and leather. Pair with beef, pork and grilled meat.
© Dr. Elinor Garely. This copyright article, including photos, may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.