Drinking for your health
wine to water and back again
So many people suffer
for their art ó Van Gogh cut off his ear, Pollack lived in a third-floor
walkup without heat.
An actress friend of
mine put it best when she said in her typical drama queen fashion, ďI
act because I have to. Not because I want to.Ē
This week, I, too,
suffered for my craft. My son believes Iím Americaís second greatest
hypochondriac. (Woody Allen would be the greatest, just because he had
the foresight to contract Dutch Elm Disease in his last movie. What
genius.) But I donít think my hypochondria is pathological, because itís
so amusing and Iím not debilitated by it. In the past Iíve suffered from
some real maladies and I donít want to make light of anyone elseís
condition. But, itís true and funny that Iíve self-diagnosed a strained
calf muscle as polio, a pimple as melanoma and a cough as tuberculosis.
Usually itís the result of a fleeting thought at the moment of
discovery: a simple fever becomes malaria, swollen lymph nodes become
bubonic plague (yes, itís still around!). I chalk it up to my overactive
sense of doom and my sex. Yes, ladies, here it is in print, men are the
weaker sex when it comes to their health. And this week I didnít feel
Youíd think with all
the antioxidants red wine has, Iíd be a pillar of health. But add in a
decent but overly plentiful diet, the summer heat and my penchant for
hiking in tick-infested woods (Lyme disease!) and youíll see how close
to the edge I really live.
Being sick in the
summer is no fun. Every healthy person is out in the sun and air but you
just want to stay home. But whatever had me down was subtle, like a St.
Emilion, with a lack of energy as distinct as the first crisp mouthful
of a California chardonnay.
What made me feel
better was a new strange beverage: water. Not just any water but special
eVamor and Essentia are
two specially formulated natural waters that have a high alkaline
content. This is supposed to remove toxins and provide your body with
the proper nutrients and balanced ph to fight infections, viruses and
malignancy. All I know is that after two bottles of each I had the
energy to write this column and my liver sent me a thank-you note. And
the water has almost no flavor so itís the perfect palate cleanser for a
wine tasting. The thing I noticed is the water comes from deep artesian
wells bored through limestone. Most good wine comes from soil with high
limestone content. Grapes donít grow well on igneous or metamorphic
rock; sedimentary is where itís at. Limestone, brownstone and shale
soils rule, and now itís supposed to be good for you.
This weekís wines are
specially ph-balanced for optimum health. Drink responsibly and above
all, choose a designated liver.
2002 Genofranco Syrah,
$11.49 ó This Sicilian wine didnít quite cut it. Syrah isnít a
temperamental grape but I think Sicilyís a little too hot for Shiraz to
thrive, or maybe itís just a bad year. Lesson learned, stick to Nero
díAvola. Imported by Sidney Frank, who made a fortune off Grey Goose
Vineyards Elvis Blue Suede Chardonnay, $8.99 ó Once you get through the
laboratory-esque tastes, this wine presented a few Burgundian flavor
notes including vanilla and honeydew. Better than I thought, but not
like the Sauvignon Blanc.
2000 Chateau Teynac St.
Julien, $19.99 ó Juicy but restrained with cassis, currant and
elderberry fruit with an easygoing structure that lends itself to plain
food like hamburgers, sausage pizza and roast chicken with rosemary or
barbecue sauce. 60 percent/40 percent Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend.
2001 Domaine de la
Tourade Vacqueyras, $15.99 ó Spicy wine from the south Rhone region,
cinnamon, green olive and raisin flavors wrapped up in a dry red
structure scented with eucalyptus and tobacco.
2000 Le Baron de Brane
Margaux $14.99, ó Second wine of Chateau Brane-Cantenac. Mostly Cabernet
and Merlot. Nice and cheap with a dry finish and blackberry, persimmon
and raspberry jam flavor notes,
1993 Domaine de la
Chevalerie Bourgueil Busardieres, $17.49 óThis underrated wine from the
Loire region should remain underrated. 100 percent Cabernet Franc, the
heartbreak grape, proves this hearty but as-yet-untamed grape is best as
a blender not a solo act. Harsh with a tannic edge that 12 years should
2002 Cape Mentelle
Cabernet Merlot, $13.99 ó From Australiaís Margaret River region; one of
the only wines I revisit regularly. Yummy.