Rich in polyphenols, this beverage fermented from grape juice has been subject to many studies suggesting cardiovascular health and longevity contributions. Resveratrol, present on the grape skin, has caught the attention of nutrition experts due to its antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties which might reduce the risk of heart diseases and cancer. Present in the white wine and, due to maceration, in an increased amount in the red wine, this polyphenol along with the low content of calories, makes wine a healthier option compared to other alcoholic drinks.
Also, the Mediterranean diet is beneficial for health and mainly for the heart due to its model of varied and balanced diet based on fresh and natural food such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, dried fruits, fish, and olive oil. These foods are rich in nutrients and antioxidants and, combined with the moderate consumption of wine, provide benefits for the heart and brain health reducing the risk of cardiac diseases, strokes, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic diseases.
With its unique valleys and under the influence of various microclimates, the Chilean wine has a diversity of styles which can be paired with a great variety of Mediterranean dishes. To start with the white wines, a coastal Sauvignon Blanc from the valley of Casablanca or San Antonio, with its refreshing acidity and light body, is the ideal combination for a juicy ceviche of white flesh fish. A very similar harmony can be found when pairing with a dish of Greek salad with feta cheese where the freshness and acidity of the beverage complement the freshness of the cucumber, the acidity of the tomato, and the saline tone of the cheese. The same Sauvignon Blanc, due to its delicacy, can be also the perfect match for a tomato salad with fresh mozzarella and basil.
A Chilean Chardonnay made of grapes grown in the calcareous soils of the Limarí valley, with its fruit notes and a little more body, is a good ally for preparations based on vegetables baked with fresh goat cheese as well as for a grilled white fish with a tone of aromatic herbs. This style of wine, burly of intense flavor, can create a great synergy with the creaminess of a “chupe de mariscos” (seafood chowder) or a crab pie. And when there is a red wine preference, a Pinot Noir from the same valley served at an appropriate temperature balance the mixture of flavors of a seafood turnover with a tone of “pebre” (a typical Chilean sauce made of pepper, tomato, garlic, oil and lemon juice).
For a palate asking for something more corpulent, a Carmenère from the valley of Cachapoal, with its spicy notes and soft tannic structure, seamlessly balances the fatty nature of a fish such as the grilled salmon. And, for changing the protein sources of the Mediterranean diet that considers a low meat consumption, a rosemary lamb loin exquisitely accompanies a Cabernet Sauvignon from the valley of Maipo. This style of red wine, with robust structure and intense notes of black fruits, serves as a counterpoint to the imposing flavor of the lamb.
This is how the Chilean wine and the Mediterranean diet are interwoven in a dance of flavors that, not only delight the palate, but also nourish and protect the body. To incorporate Chilean labels to the diet increases the gastronomic experience and invites to celebrate the cultural wealth and the diversity of flavors offered by Chile. And for achieving the full benefits of these exquisite pairings, it is essential to take the time to appreciate the pleasure provided by the food and wine. Cheers!
We could go on for hours about wine, and its benefits are many. Among them, moderate wine consumption reduces the risk of mortality from heart disease by half, improves blood flow and enhances the flavours of food. In addition, wine is social, allowing for different delicious libations in the company of friends. But wine is not without its pitfalls, as the saying goes, there can be too much of a good thing.
Drinking alcohol, even in small quantities, alters cognitive abilities, decreases our attentiveness and leads to slower response times. It is worth noting that alcohol consumption is the leading cause of traffic accidents.
You can be a part of the solution, keeping the above in mind to not let wine become a negative experience.