Kinnegar Wines , Importers of fine selected wines

Importers of fine selected wines

Specialist in South African Wines

Pinot gets to the Heart of Health

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Living Longer, Living Better by Professor Lionel Opie
If Pinot Noir is your pick of the bunch, read on. Both producers and consumers will relish conclusions, cautiously reached, by one of the world’s foremost cardiologists, Professor Lionel Opie in his new book, Living Longer, Living Better
published by Oxford University Press. 

 As Director Emeritus of the Hatter Cardiovascular Research Instituteat UCT’s medical school, Opie is renowned as a clinician, scientist and writer on heart health. At a gathering at Paul Cluver estate in Elgin he talked on Red Wine and Health, using information from his new title.  

Through painstaking evaluation of data, he found compelling evidence for five lifestyle habits that will promote long-term health benefits for heart and mind. Among these are that moderate consumption of alcohol is part of a healthy lifestyle, and that red wine, in particular, has specific beneficial qualities, as has often been claimed. In medical circles, the French paradox refers to statistics revealing that incidence of one type of heart disease is three times higher in the US than in France.

While populations of wine-drinking countries like France and Italy have fewer coronaries, this does not prove that red wine alone is the reason. Parallel studies point to the benefits of the Mediterranean diet which, although similar to others, adds olive oil and moderate alcohol intake. While such modest intake may also reflect a relaxed lifestyle, Opie points to proof that such intake protects those at risk of stroke or heart attacks.

Focusing on the specific qualities in red wine that are beneficial, two components, melaton and resveratrol have been isolated. These remain advantageous if the wine is de-alcoholised. Rats were used during research, being given the equivalent of two glasses of red wine a day, and it was found that these chemicals helped protect them from heart disease. While melaton requires more research before useful data can be obtained, resveratrol has been found in higher quantities in pinot noir than in red wines made from other grape varieties. The quantity is not constant – a pinot noir from Paul Cluver contained significantly more of the beneficial chemical than another from the same region.

Why pinot noir and not cabernet or shiraz? Plenty of scope for study by plant physiologists, although Dr Paul Cluver speculates pinot, a pernickety cultivar, being stressed as a possible reason for production of high quantities of this compound. Meanwhile, the good news is that resveratrol, a protective mechanism produced by the pinot noir grape to fight disease, is still there when the grapes are transformed into enjoyable red wine. Opie likes the Italian proverb which maintains that one barrel of (red) wine can work more miracles than a church full of saints, provided of course, that one doesn’t exceed the recommended quantities – two to three glasses daily for men, one to two for women.


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