Wednesday, August 23, 2006

To Your Health....!!!

It is white wine's turn in the limelight for healthful benefits.
Be sure to click on the image and enlarge it to see how white wine can reflect the fragrance of flowers, the freshness of a bright spring morning and the intensity of a glorious summer day.
"Wine is the most healthful and hygienic of beverages" Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), French scientist

"I think a tax on wine, is a tax on the health of our citizens" Thomas Jefferson

Only when the television news magazine "60 Minutes" reported in November, 1991, the phenomenon that has come to be known as the French Paradox, did popular thinking of wine as medicine rather than toxin begin to return. Typically, the diet of people in Southern France includes a very high proportion of cheese, butter, eggs, organ meats, and other fatty and cholesterol-laden foods. This diet would seem to promote heart disease, but the rate there was discovered to be much lower than in America; herein lies the paradox. But red wines suddenly were the latest way to a healthy life style. A significant amount of research since then has shown the benefit of consuming red wine in particular.
It was the advent of modern medicine, especially the discovery of penicillin and subsequent other antibiotics that put wine on the back shelves as a medical treatment. Hippocrates , the "Father of Medicine" around 400 B.C. in his Corpus Hippocraticum, showed how wine played a significant role in these treatises of antique medicine. The largest pharmacological work of antiquity was written by a Greek army surgeon,Pedanius Dioscorides, in the service of the Roman emperor Nero. De Materia Medica consisted of five volumes and was written in the first century A.D. Both of these extensive works remained authorative for western medicine for almost a thousand years.
Now the latest research tells us that lovers of white wine no longer have to worry about not getting the healthful benefits that their red wine drinking friends have been enjoying.
All I can say to that is "A votre sante", "Salud", "Prosit", "Noroc", "Campai" and "Noroc"or in any other language I raise my glass and here is to your good health.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


At last, be your own critic and be right every time. Forget the point systems. Wine lovers everywhere will be able to do on the spot computerized tastings and find the wines they like without actually consuming them. Sounds like some fictional, futuristic dreaming? Its closer than you think. I am in possesion of a personal prototype. The picture you see of the handheld computerized tasting tongue has only been altered slightly to protect the .....well the wild imagination of some dreamers like myself.

Have we not all wondered how come we can't detect that hint of bacon wrapped baked pear on the nose? Or tasted that kiwi tinged streak of lime marinated mango? Please, will someone tell me how you do that?

"Human sensory tests are regularly employed in the food and beverages industries, but results are based on subjective judgements and variations between panels can be up to 50 per cent in terms of flavour units. Therefore, the development of 'objective' tools to detect taste is very much needed," said the researchers in a joint UK-Us venture. Wow, 50% folks, that is enough to make you wonder whether what you read or hear about a wine is really what you'll experience when you attempt to taste the wine yourself. This scientific approach is based on surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensors.Imagine dipping your little probe into a glass of wine with a predetermined taste profile set to your own preferences.
Meanwhile another group of scientists have figure out how we perceive all that crisp sour ( acid in wine of course)
Japanese researchers not to be outdone, have produced a robot that will tell you what grapes are in your wine. Aha!! I thought I could detect Viognier in that Shiraz.
Now if the ladies and gentlemen of the scientific community could all get together, pool their knowledge and come up with my futuristic handheld computerized tongue, I can go to the next big tasting of 100+ wines, set my parameters and I'll be able to pick my winners in no time at all. Then of course I can get to some serious tasting. One day soon I will wake up from my dream and read in my favourite wine column ( my own perhaps), that the future is here. The fully loaded models will of course allow you to listen to your music, take pictures and will have a cell phone component. But wait....not to open another can of worms, but the Aussies think they have the answer and have come up with another sniffer. So now you will have a choice, your PPPP (Personally Programmed Proboscis Probe) or your PPPW (Personal Pack of Pet Worms)
In the meantime lest we forget, the best wine is still the wine that you like.