A glass of red wine is arguably a staple in a Valentine’s Day dinner. Sharing a bottle of red is not only romantic, but it also enhances and complements the flavors of your meal. And here’s an added bonus – when you raise your glasses to toast to love and health, you should know that you will actually be sipping your way to better health.
That’s because red wine, when consumed in moderation, may prevent heart disease. Key word: Moderation. The alcohol and antioxidants in red wine has the ability to increase level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol – that’s the “good” cholesterol. Antioxidants found in red wine can protect your blood vessels, prevent blood clots, and reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – that’s the bad kind.
Again, that moderation thing – these health benefits are null and void if you drink too much red wine. That means one glass a day for women and two glasses a day for men.
Of course this is Healthy Travel Blog, so let’s hit the road to some world class destinations renowned for their red wines. Here are the best spots around the world for a glass of red.
The Aegean Islands, Greece
This destination isn’t typically thought of as a wine destination. However, the islands are basically large farms, including vineyards. And a variety of white and red grapes are grown in Crete. Try the local wines Voudomato and Mavrotragano – they’re touted as earthy, medium-bodied reds that pair well with the local cuisine.
This town is marked by the view of the Andes Mountains. But it is also home to thousands and thousands of acres of vineyards. While Mendoza may be well known for its Malbec, it has become a top spot for wine tourism. Wineries here work with grapes for Cabernet Sauvignon, Bonarda, Syrah, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir and Merlot. And, of course, there’s Malbec – this wine is deep in color, aromas, body and flavors that excellently pair with Argentina’s beef, pastas and the local specialty, roasted goat.
This town has cultivated Pinot Noir since the Middle Ages. Baden, bordering Switzerland and France, is the warmest and sunniest region in Germany, which is why Pinot varieties thrive so well here. There are more acres of Pinot Noir grapes here than in New Zealand or Australia.
You cannot talk about amazing destinations for wine without mentioning France. Located in the south of France, Languedoc is a part of Languedoc-Roussillon, the world’s largest wine-producing region. This area is an up-and-coming wine tourism destination due to its excellent wines, vine-covered vistas and sandy coastline. Red, white, rosé, still, sparking, dry and fortified wines are all made here – it’s a wine lover’s dream! If you like hearty reds, try Pic Saint Loup, Corbières and Fitou – they’re rich and spicy wines.
Just like France, it goes without saying that Italy is one of the best destinations for wine. This Italian city is bordered by Tuscany, Marche and Lazio. What makes this place unique is that it appears to be virtually the same as it was thousands of years ago, with its well-preserved medieval towns. There is no shortage of olive groves and vineyards here. If you go, you should know that Sagrantino di Montefalco is Umbria’s most celebrated wine. It’s a powerful red made from the local Sagrantino grape.
Photo from Drinking in America.