Red is the color of Valentine wine

With the holiday embracing romantic pursuits just around the corner, Valentine’s Day will see its share of wine, red wine especially.

It’s comforting to know that red wine has some health benefits. Academic research has also confirmed what many have always known — that red wine in moderate amounts, one to two glasses daily, increases sexual desire.

According to a 2009 Italian study, red wine not only releases obvious inhibitions but increases sexual desire in women. Interestingly enough, dark chocolate has been known to have a similar effect. It should be no surprise that red wine and dark chocolate are Valentine gift staples.

Further good news from Reuters: Moderate red wine consumption reduces the likelihood of weight gain in women, compared to those choosing to abstain from wine drinking. Antioxidants in red wine increase levels of good cholesterol for a healthy heart in both men and women.

An ingredient found in the skins of red grapes called resveratrol may or may not also confer positive health effects. Claims of increased metabolism, better prostate health, and counteracting the effects of aging have been widely researched but not fully substantiated. A lack of general consensus clearly exists within the medical research community regarding the merits of resveratrol, but many wine drinkers consider any health benefit merely a bonus to the romantic reds.

Passionate reds
Red wine has always been considered a “mood setter,” playing a vital role in creating the proper romantic atmosphere. It is no surprise that more than 80 percent of the wine-drinking world prefer passionate red wine over white. Chardonnays and Rieslings have their place, but they lack the muscle of reds.

For the carnivore, full-bodied wines like cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel and malbec stand up nicely to a juicy steak. Wine drinkers wanting a subtle taste enjoy a rose, carmenere or pinot noir.

Red wine will always play a part in Valentine’s Day. In the pursuit of long-term romance, however, helping out with the laundry and cleaning the kitchen may have as much impact as a ’97 Vintage Port.

Here are a few favorite red wines readily available locally to help celebrate the holiday of hearts.

• Beronia Rioja 2009, Spain
• Petalos Blend 2009, Spain
• Susana Balbo Malbec 2009, Argentina
• Mont Gras Carnermere 2009, Chile
• Predator Zinfandel 2008, California
• Haras Carmenere 2008, Chile
• Franciscan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, California
• Alto Cedro La Consulta Tempranillo 2009, Argentina
• Michael David Sixth Sense Syrah 2008, California

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