Heart-healthy foods

Foods That Boost Your Cardiovascular Health

When we use the term “hungry heart,” we are usually not speaking in the literal, scientific sense. The Hebrew bible associated all feelings with the heart, hunger and thirst included and quoted Abraham as saying we shall eat to “sustain our hearts.” However, today we tend to more often associate these signals with the mind and brain. However, is the whole body concept so far-fetched? After all, if our heart does fuel our body, and our stomach does fuel our heart, then maybe the heart can be hungry. And if the heart is hungry, what should we feed it?

The Food-Heart Connection
According to Julie Zumpano, RD, LD, and dietitian for the Preventive Cardiology and Nutrition Program at Cleveland Clinic says, “You can definitely reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by eating certain foods every day. Try to eat foods that are in their natural form, as they come from the ground.” Here are some suggestions for a heart-healthy diet.

Fish
Fish are packed with omega-3’s to support your heart. Eating fish with a high omega-3 content, such as salmon and mackerel can help prevent the formation of blood clots, and help maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Salmon

Almonds
A handful of almonds contains a huge load of nutrients! Not only do these nuts have protein, magnesium, and fiber, but they are also high in vitamin E, biotin, monosaturated fats and antioxidants to protect against oxidative stress. They have also been shown to help reduce risk of heart disease and lower bad cholesterol levels.

Beans
Beans, beans, good for your heart! Beans are rich in soluble fiber and help decrease blood pressure and reduce inflammation. They are also full of phytochemicals that reduce oxidative stress, a known contributor to heart disease.

Pomegranates
These lovely seeded fruits have incredible anti-inflammatory properties to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and blood disease. They also contain punicic acid, a fatty acid proven to combat risk factors associated with heart disease.

Pomegranates

Whole Grains
If you want to improve heart health, swap out that white bread for whole wheat. Web MD cites research showing that the consumption of just 25 grams of whole grains per day can reduce heart disease by 15%.” A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer,” says the website.

Red Wine
Don’t get too excited. Moderation is the key. Scientist suggest that one glass of red per day can raise HDL, or good cholesterol, which prevents blood clots and inflammation that can contribute to a stroke or heart attack. However, they also warn against too much of the good stuff, which may have a detrimental effect on mental and physical health.

Dark Chocolate
Bring on the dark chocolate to help protect your cardiovascular system. This wonderful treat contains flavanols. an antioxidant which has been shown to lower blood pressure, increase blood flow to the heart, and decrease the likelihood of blood clot formation.

Dark chocolate

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, folic acid. and beta carotene, but it’s lycopene that really gives these veggies their heart healthy kick. Lycopene reduces risk for heart disease and reduces blood pressure, inflammation, and stroke which make these veggies a great pick for a snack or salad topper.

What do you feed your heart to keep it healthy? Let us know! We love to hear it!

Woman holding head

Avoid These Migraine Food Triggers

CBS 2 news. The anchorman sends it over to Serena Branson the Staples Center where the Grammy Awards are letting out. A pretty, smiling, blond woman appears on the screen holding a CBS microphone. She opens her mouth to speak, but, rather than words, what emerges is a series of garbled, unintelligible syllables somewhat resembling the English language. The nation looks on horrified.

What happened to Serena Branson? According to later reports, Branson was suffering from a medical mystery diagnosed as a “complex migraine:” a unilateral, painful headache that can affect the speech and vision. Migraines are a debilitating condition affecting over 300 million people worldwide, most of whom are women. While there is no proof that diet triggers migraines, experts agree that certain foods can cause them. If you are one of the 300 million migraine sufferers, here are some things you may want to know about the food-migraine link.

Alcohol
Lucy Rathier, PhD and associate professor of psychiatry at Brown University, says, “If someone tells me that a certain food triggers their migraines, I’m not going to argue with them. They should avoid that food.” If you’re one of the one out of three people who say alcohol triggers their migraines, you should probably heed Dr. Rathier’s advice.

According to Noah Rosen, MD and director of the Headache center at the Cushing Neuroscience Institute, alcohol’s effect on migraines has been proven in studies. “People single out red wine or dark liquors, but unfortunately any alcohol can be a trigger,” he says.

Other Possible Culprits

MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
MSG is a food additive commonly found in restaurant foods and processed foods to enhance flavor. Studies find it to be a cause of migraines in up to 15% of sufferers.

Caffeine
While some caffeine can ease the swelling that causes migraines, and is even an ingredient found in some pain relievers, beware of overdoing it. Rosen says, “if you drink more than 120 mg a day and you miss 60 mg,” it might result in a headache from withdrawal.

Caffeine

Speculated foods
Rosen puts cheese and preserved meats into a category that he calls, “speculated foods,” or foods that have not been scientifically proven to cause migraines, although many people claim that they do. Rosen also acknowledges that some triggers may be even less common, pointing out that two of his patients say that garlic triggers their migraines. Says Rosen, although “it’s not common, in these people, it may be the case.”

Is Food The Cause of Your Migraine?
If you get a headache within 12 to 24 hours of eating a certain food, you should consider it a possible trigger. The best way to target triggers is to keep a journal or use a migraine app. to track them. Because most people have more than one trigger, Rosen recommends taking notes on 20 to 30 attacks to best determine which foods are causing the headaches.

Once you discover which foods might be triggering your migraine, eliminate them from your diet for a month, one by one. If you notice a change for the better, you may want to consider cutting the food out permanently, or at least when your risk of migraine is highest. For women, high risk may be associated with certain times in the menstrual cycle.

Eating Regularly
It may not only be what you eat that is causing your headaches, but also how often. Rosen says, “Skipping meals and dehydration are both significant triggers. We know this from what’s called ‘Yom Kippur headache’ or ‘first day of Ramadan headache,’ since both events require fasting.” Experts recommend eating five or six small meals during the day, especially to those suffering from migraines

If you suffer migraines, let us know what your triggers are. You may have some valuable information.

Woman holding a glass of wine

A Little Glass of Wine Per Day

For a long time, red wine has been thought to be heart healthy. Wine Lovers rejoice whenever a new study comes out boasting of the many benefits drinking red (and sometimes white) wine can have for your heart, skin, bones, and state of mind. These studies even suggest that drinking a glass of wine a day is the key to many health issues. Do these supposed benefits actually do anything, or are we just looking for excuses to drink more wine? Maybe, but there are two main benefits to wine drinking that do seem to carry some weight.

Benefit: Resveratrol
One of the main benefits you hear about when it comes to drinking wine daily is the resveratrol in red grape skins. Because red wine is fermented in red grape skins you get a hefty dose of it with each glass. Resveratrol acts as an antioxidant, which help protect your cells from damage. If you have ever seen an add or read an article about skincare with vitamin E or vitamin C, you know all about the benefits of antioxidants for your skin. Molecules called free radicals can damage your skin cells, and antioxidant skin care helps to prevent this and heal your skin. For this reason, so many brands are coming out with skincare lines formulated with these vitamins to help brighten skin, prevent aging, and repair damage.

Free radicals don’t stop at the skin’s surface- they can cause the same kinds of damage inside your body, too! That’s why it’s important to eat (and drink!) things that are rich in antioxidants (and why every smoothie you buy will have the word “antioxidant” on the label). Luckily for all of the wine lovers out there, a glass of red wine per day can help prevent the kinds of cell damage that lead to heart disease and other health problems, such as osteoporosis. Resveratrol is linked to all kinds of health benefits, and we couldn’t be happier that drinking red wine gives you a dose of this highly sought after antioxidant!

Benefit: Decreased Chances of Depression
Though heavy alcohol consumption is not good for your brain’s chemistry, studies concluded that moderate wine drinking can actually decrease your chances of depression. One particular study warns that incidents of depression do increase with heavy alcohol consumption, but those who drank 2-7 glasses of wine seemed to be in the sweet spot. They had lower incidences of depression than both heavy drinker, and those who did not drink- so raise a glass to your health!

While not all claims about wine being healthy for you may be true, there are some benefits that do seem to have an effect on your health. The resveratrol in wine has a number of benefits ranging from heart disease prevention to bone health, and it is the main reason why wine is known has a heart healthy option.  Moderation is important with anything, so sticking to a little glass of wine a day is just right- cheers!

Woman in a park

One a Day for Health

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” We have all heard the phrase, and we know it’s about more than just apples! Making healthy choices every day can be hard, but consistently doing things each day to make healthy habits is the best thing you can do for your physical and mental health. There are all kinds of little things you can do each day to help you lead a healthier lifestyle!

Woman drinking water

Drink Water!
Whether you think 8 cups, a gallon, or some other amount is best, drinking one glass of water in the morning is a perfectly simple way to get ahead for the day. Whatever your goal is, starting your day with one glass of water down is going to make it so much easy to reach it!

Start Your Day with Green Tea
Green tea has caffeine, so it is a great choice for a morning pick-me-up. Unlike coffee, green tea can actually help you stay hydrated, as well as give you a boost of energy. Green tea also jump starts your metabolism and is rich in antioxidants- who wouldn’t want to add this stuff in their routine?

Woman exercising

Do Something Active for At Least 30 Minutes
This can be anything! Even going for a short walk can boost your energy and metabolism. Doing yoga, going for a bike ride, exploring your neighborhood, or taking a spin class are also great ways to be more active every day. Mix it up and try new things so you stay motivated and excited to get your 30 minutes (or more) of activity every day!

Replace One Unhealthy Food with a Healthy One
Dieting is hard. It’s certainly not fun to always be thinking about what you eat, more specifically what you can’t eat. A simple way to ease into making better diet choices is to simply replace one unhealthy food with something more nutritious each day, and working up from there if you choose. This could be as simple as choosing a good old-fashioned coffee instead of a sugary coffee drink, or skipping the pop tart and opting for a smoothie in the morning. This method keeps dieting from getting overwhelming and breaks it down to each meal or snack. Creating good habits that are satisfying and manageable is really the only way to turn a diet into a lifestyle change.

Woman drinking wine

Drink a Glass of Wine!
This one is our favorite. It is no secret now, after new studies have shown all of the possible benefits of resveratrol, that drinking wine can actually be healthy. This antioxidant just so happens to be found in the skins of red grapes, so when we drink wine, we are getting a healthy dose of resveratrol, which can improve heart health, protect your cells from damaging free radicals, and prevent muscle fatigue!

Making an effort to add healthy habits to your daily routine can work wonders when it comes to improving your overall health. The best part is, as you can tell by this list, not every healthy habit is going to be difficult or unpleasant! Some are downright fun (thank you resveratrol)! So don’t ditch the apples, but there are tons of other little things you can do each day for your health!

Woman drinking wine

Why does Red Wine Stain Teeth?

If you’re a red wine drinker, you’re probably quite familiar with the struggle of red wine stains on teeth. As far as why it happens, you can thank the high acidity levels combined with tannins and chromogens that like to take advantage of the plaque on your teeth. It’s not a particularly attractive look, but what are you supposed to do if you want to enjoy a nice glass of red without it showing up all over your pretty smile?

Drink Sparkling Water
Drinking sparkling water and subtly swishing it around in your mouth a bit can help remove the wine from your teeth before it could actually settle in. Having some water while you drink your wine is also a great way to help prevent getting a hangover while making sure you stay hydrated.

Skip Red Wine While Teeth Whitening
If you’re doing teeth whitening, you’re going to want to avoid red wine altogether. Your teeth are more porous so it’s more likely that they can get stained. Considering they’re more susceptible to staining, you should wait at least two days after the whitening is done before you start drinking red wine again.

Eat Hard Cheese
Wine and cheese go together like peanut butter and jelly, but eating hard cheese while you’re drinking wine can actually be good for preventing red wine stains on your teeth. You can thank the high amount of calcium from the hard cheese for that little benefit. Don’t hesitate to have some of your favorite cheese before and during your glass of red wine not only to help prevent stains but also because it’s typically a good idea anyway to have food on your stomach when you consume alcohol.

Woman brushing teeth

Wait to Brush Your Teeth
You may be tempted to brush your teeth right after drinking red wine in order to prevent staining on your teeth, but that could do more harm than good. It’s best if you actually brush and floss your teeth about an hour before you go out so you have a chance to remove the plaque that’s built up on your teeth while ensuring that you’re not going to have a nice mix of toothpaste flavor and red wine going on at dinner.

Drink Through a Straw
Okay so you’re probably not going to ask for a straw in a restaurant to start drinking out of your glass, but when you’re home, feel free to reach for one if you want to help prevent red wine stains on your teeth. It basically helps the wine bypass most of your teeth. Just keep in mind if you do this a lot that the repetitive motion of drinking through a straw could actually cause wrinkles around your mouth.

There’s no reason you can’t enjoy a good glass of red wine, but if you want to reduce the chances of stains popping up on your teeth, it’s best if you take precautions before, during, and after. A little effort can go a long way in helping to ensure your teeth stay as pearly white as possible.

Glass of wine surrounded by grapes and logs

Great Quality Homegrown Wines

For years, wine has been known to be a great drink for socializing, or just relaxing quietly at home. Now, studies have emerged showing that wine also has great health benefits. But good wines can be costly. However, you can make a great homemade wine for a fraction of what it would cost you to buy wine at a store. Find out how you can make a quality wine in your own home.

According to health and gardening writer Jeff Cox, the quality of the wine is determined by the grapevines, not the winemaker. Better grapes will make a better wine. A growing site is best with access to full sunlight, good drainage and nutrient poor soil. You can pick grapes at the peak of perfection, when it is not only ripe, but mature. Then the grapes should be brought to the winery (which may be your garage or basement) to begin the winemaking process.

The next step would be primary fermentation. Grapes are crushed to yield juice, pulp and skins. Next, you can stir in honey, which provides food for the yeast and sweetens the wine. Finally, add wine yeast, which can be bought in a store. Cover loosely with plastic. This process will allow the yeast to convert natural sugars to alcohol and will take about 10 days. A perfect temperature for primary fermentation is between 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Secondary fermentation comes next. During this process, you will be ‘racking’ or siphoning the wine from one container to the other, leaving the sediment that has settled to the bottom of the container behind. It’s best to store the wine in a glass container with an airlock. This will create a barrier from the environment to prevent airborne contaminants from spoiling your wine.

After 6 to 8 weeks it is time for the second racking. This is necessary to remove more sediment and it rids your wine of excessive carbon dioxide resulting from fermentation. Wait another 6 to 8 weeks before the next racking.
For the third racking, add one campden tablet per gallon of wine. This tablet is an antioxidant that also inhibits bacteria. It will make your wine taste good and prevent browning. You must wait another 4 to 6 months before the fourth racking also known as filtering.

Filtering is not necessary, but it will clear the wine and prevent sediment at the bottom. It can be done by a filtering machine and it will give your wine some sparkle. Once this is done, wait two more weeks to allow any traces of sediment to settle.

resveralife-great-quality-homegrown-wines-bottles

Bottling is your last step. For best results, use green wine glass bottles with cork seals that don’t have rough edges or nicks. Siphon the wine into bottles and leave room for the cork and air space of one inch between the cork and wine. Then leave wine bottles standing upright for 24 hours. Then turn bottles on their sides for long term storage. Age your bottle another 6 months to a year for a great homemade quality wine.

Do you make your wine at home? Are there any tips that you would like to add? Let us know in the comments section below.

Grapes in a vineyard

Organically Grown Grapes and Wine

Organic is one of the major buzzwords right now in all areas of life from products you use in your bathroom right down to your kitchen table. However, the title of organic can be confusing at times, and as a consumer, you want to know what you’re paying for. Although organic wine is not a hugely popular item in the United States, there are many winegrowers that are dedicated to producing organically grown grapes on sustainable vineyards. It would be a natural assumption that organically grown grapes produce organic wine, and if you think this you are right – to an extent. Read below to find out what organically grown grapes are and what types of wine these grapes can produce.

What are Organically Grown Grapes?
Like any other food item, in order for grapes to be labeled as organic, they must be grown in accordance with the principles of organic farming. In conventional wine growing, chemical fertilizers are used to protect the vines and to promote larger yields. The chemicals that are sprayed onto the fruits are also absorbed by the soil and they make their way into the leaves and the grapes being grown, meaning that these chemicals ultimately make it into the wine. Those who support organically grown grapes say that not only do these chemicals destroy the soil and surrounding land, but they also remove some of the very unique and distinct flavors that accompany grapes.

Growing grapes organically provides a unique set of challenges to winemakers. For these growers to be the most successful, they must choose the correct type of wine for the growing environment and region. One of the major concerns in growing organic grapes is the presence of mildew and rot pressures, because grapes affected by these factors will not be able to be used in the production of wine.

What is Organic Wine?
In the most basic definition, organic wine is any wine that is produced using organically grown grapes. However, there are some various legal definitions that can be quite confusing to many consumers. Currently, the only effective preservatives that allow wines to last for substantial periods of time are “non-organic.” This means that a wine can be made from organically grown grapes, but still not be considered an organic wine. The difference between organic and non-organic wines lies in the use of sulfites. Many winemakers use sulfites in very small quantities to preserve the wine and to give it a longer shelf life, but a true organic wine in the United States may not contain any added sulfites. If a wine has added sulfites, but is produced using grapes that have been grown organically, then the label may read “wine made from organic grapes.”

Growing grapes organically requires extreme patience, commitment and dedication, and many winemakers are taking up this challenge. Pick up a bottle of organic wine, or wine made from organic grapes and see how you like the taste of grapes produced responsibly and wine made without sulfites.

Woman having wine

Warm Temperatures and Fine Wine

As temperatures rise, it is often necessary to reconsider the wines you have been drinking throughout the winter. While crisp whites can have an equal appeal during both winter and summer, many of the most popular red wines feel overwhelmingly heavy when the weather gets hot. Keep reading for a brief guide to the best fine wines for warmer temperatures.

Sparkling Rose
So how can you make summer’s ubiquitous wine even better? Just add some Pinot Noir and bubbles. Sparkling Rose made from Pinot Noir is an all occasion spring and summer wine that features the flavors of flowers and succulent red fruits. Veuve Clicquot’s chef de caves, Dominique Demarville says, “sparkling rose is an excellent pairing with lighter dishes like fresh fish and seasonal salads. Yet, it also has the structure to stand up to heavier dishes like grilled meats.” Sparkling Rose has moderate alcohol, almost indiscernible tannins and a bright effervescence that make it absolute perfection for warm temperatures.

Albarino
If you want to try a white that is a bit out of the ordinary and that pairs perfectly with your favorite summer foods, try a Spanish variety Albarino. Marimar Torres, owner of Marimar Estate winery in California’s River Valley, says that Albarino is an ideal white for summer because it pairs wonderfully with summer favorites such as grilled seafood, sushi and tapas. “It’s very refreshing and delicious, minerally, with classic notes of key lime, white peach and a floral accent of hyacinth. It’s long in the end, with a zippy and crisp finish.”

Rose wine
Rose

Rose is without a doubt the summer wine, but you don’t have to wait until summer to enjoy it. Dry rose wine walks the line between white and red, and often features fruity notes of summer fruits like strawberries and cherries. Rose also has bright citrus acidity, which makes it a highly refreshing wine during warm weather. While many people claim the White Zinfandel is not a Rose wine, but is instead blush, this is not true. White Zinfandel is technically a Rose wine because it is made in the Rose style, it is just a far sweeter version of most Rose wines. Rose wines pair perfectly with summer foods from salads and seafood to backyard barbecues.

Sangiovese
While whites tend to dominate spring and summer, you don’t have to shelve all of your reds until the weather gets cold again. “Sangiovese, when expressing its red fruit and delicate vibrant nature, is a versatile, smooth and ideal summer wine. Sometimes, there is a smoked meat, leather character to the wine that is classic for the famous bistecca fiorentina, so bring on the barbecue,” says Shelley Lindgren, wine director and owner of California restaurants A16 and APQR. You aren’t limited to meat when serving a Sangiovese; the wine also pairs well with vegetable-based pasta dishes, particularly those that feature eggplant, zucchini and/or cherry tomatoes.

The idea that spring and summer weather necessitates white wine is a misconception. You can drink any type of wine that you want all year, but there are some wines that fit seasonally better than others. Experiment with the different types of wine listed above for a spring and summer full of incredible wine and food.

Glass of wine on a terrace during fall.

Summer to Fall Wines

The shift of one season into another is the perfect time to add some variety and change up your routine. Slowly, the days get a bit shorter and the air a little crisper. Fall is the perfect time of year to enjoy the changing scenery on your back porch with a relaxing glass of wine. With summer ending, and the weather becoming cooler, you may crave wines with a bit more body and substance than traditional summer wines have. Rose and white wines are popular during the summer and red wines are more commonly associated with winter. With fall bridging the gap, what wine varietals transition seamlessly from summer to fall? Below, Resveralife provides three suggestions for summer to fall wines.

Merlot
Though it is several months until winter, fall sees warm weather out and welcomes cooler temperatures. A smooth, round texture is characteristic of Merlot wine, which some experts consider to be the perfect “introductory” red wine for beginners. Merlot has very soft tannins, which is what is largely responsible for the wine’s smooth finish. Fruit notes typical of Merlot wines include blackberry, plum and some herbal flavors.

Cabernet Franc
One of the most popular wines worldwide is Cabernet Sauvignon, but this complex, highly tannic and full-bodied red can be a bit heavy for fall. Cabernet Franc is genetically the parent of Cabernet Sauvignon and it is often overlooked. However, Cabernet Franc is the perfect summer to fall wine as it is a lighter, brighter and less tannic red wine than its offspring, Cabernet Sauvignon. The main note in Carbernet Franc is often raspberries, though you may find leafy green, earthy or smoky aromas present as well .This is an elegant wine that smells like fall and is evocative of all the flavors and scents that define the fall season.

Oaked Chardonnay
Just because red wine tends to be what people gravitate to when cooler weather hits does not mean that you can’t enjoy a white wine during fall. Chardonnay tends to feature fruit flavors of lemon, pear, apple, pineapple, peach and passion fruit. An oaked Chardonnay is an excellent summer to fall wine as it is a rich, full-bodied white wine. In addition to the fruit flavors, oaked Chardonnays have flavors such as creme brulee, caramel, butter, caramelized sugar and pie crust. These flavors combined with the added richness and buttery texture of oaked Chardonnay make this wine one of the perfect summer to fall transition wines.

When it comes to wine, the “rules” can be a bit overwhelming, but there are guidelines that help you receive the most enjoyment possible from the wines you drink. Summer to fall wines tend to be heavier and richer than their summer counterparts, while still retaining some light crispness. Remember that the only real “rule” to drinking wine is that you should drink what you enjoy and what brings you pleasure. Experimenting with different wines during different seasons help broaden your horizons and may introduce you to wines that become your favorites.

Servers pouring red and white wine.

A Guide to Common Wine Varietals

The enjoyment of a great glass of wine is one of life’s simplest pleasures, though sometimes it may not seem simple to select your wine. Wines are available in so many varieties and have so many subtle, and not so subtle, differences that it can be downright overwhelming when you start to select wines. Often, when buying a Riesling or a Cabernet Sauvignon, you know what you are getting; which is wine produced using the Riesling or Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. But if you pick up a bottle with the word “varietal” on the label you may not be positive what it is that you’re choosing. Simply put, varietal means that the wine was produced using a specific wine grape. Further, in the United States, wine varietals indicate which grape is the dominant grape in the wine so that you have an idea of what flavor to expect. Some, but not all, bottles even include the percentages for every grape used in the blend. To make you more confident in your next wine purchase, Resveralife composed a guide to the most common wine varietals.

White Wines
Chardonnay – Wines produced using the Chardonnay grape are often medium to full bodied and complex. The most prominent notes in Chardonnays tend to be citrus fruits, melon, pineapples, peaches, butterscotch, butter and vanilla. There are other notes available such as apple, fig, pear, spice and hazelnut.

Riesling – With origins in Germany, Riesling is a grape that grows well in all wine districts. These wines are most typically fruity, fresh apple flavors are particularly prominent, and can be floral as well. Riesling ranges from dry to very sweet, with many having a semi-sweet taste with an acidity for balance.

Sauvignon Blanc – Sauvignon Blanc wines tend to be herbal and quite light. The herbal flavors often are reminiscent of grass or bell peppers. Sour fruits such as apple, pear and gooseberry or tropical fruits and blackcurrant, may also be present. Sauvignon Blanc wines tend to be crisp with a strong acidity.

Red Wines
Cabernet Sauvignon – One of the world’s most popular wines, Cabernet Sauvignons are full-bodied and complex. These wines tend to be a bit dry and firm. Flavors can range from currant, plum, black cherry and spice to olive, peppers, herbs, tobacco, vanilla and mint, to name a few. The oak barrels in which Cabernet Sauvignon wines are aged are responsible for vanilla or toasty cedar flavors the wine may have.

Pinot Noir – Another immensely popular red wine, Pinot Noir is fresh and delicate. These wines are smooth, rich and have soft tannins. The most prevalent notes of Pinot Noir wines are raisins with undertones of black cherry, raspberry and spice.

Merlot – Merlot is a supple and smooth wine with a round texture and very soft tannins. The popularity of this wine is caused by its ease of pairing (nearly anything can be paired with a Merlot) and its softness, which is not what one associates with many red wines. Wines produced using Merlot grapes feature cherry, black cherry, herbs, green olive and chocolate.

The wine selection process is a bit easier when you have a bit of background knowledge of common wine varietal. The label on a varietal wine will indicate which grape is the dominant grape in the blend, and may indicate the other grapes used as well. However, it is not required, and indeed it is illegal for a wine to label itself as a varietal is there is no dominant (75% or higher) grape used. When the word “varietal” is present on a label, it indicates what you can expect regarding flavor and finish. Branch out and try a different wine varietal for a new, and delicious, experience.

Page 1 of 3123