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Antioxidants, Flavonoids, Aphrodisiacs

It has been touted for years that wine is good for your heart health. This claim has to do with the antioxidants and flavonoids found mostly in red wine. You may have heard of resveratrol, a phenolic antioxidant present in the skin of red grapes. Wine made in cool climates and thicker skinned grapes contain the highest levels: Malbec, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, and Tannat. Then there are the procyanidins found in red wine. These flavanoid polyphenols are said to be most concentrated in Cabernet Sauvignon from the United States, and also many varietals from southwestern France and Sardinia, Italy. In addition to wine being good for your heart, did you know it has also been proven to be good for your libido? A study by the University of Florence concluded that red wine has an aphrodisiac quality due to compounds found only in red wine. As Valentine's Day is fast approaching, here are some food and wine pairing ideas that may get you in the mood:

Heart-shaped and perfect for the occasion, strawberries go well with Pinot Noir and Petite Sirah. Try them with cracked pepper and cloves which have a sensual fragrance. Figs are said to be good for sexual health, full of iron and potassium. Dried figs wrapped in prosciutto paired with Pinot Noir makes a delicious appetizer.

Saffron imparts a red hue in food and is believed to stimulate hormones. Risotto alla Milanese is a romantic dish which works well with a dry rosé. You can find many choices locally in the Niagara Peninsula wine region to try. You can also choose a red wine with good acidity such as a Barbera from the Piemonte wine region of Italy matching the dish with a regional wine. Garnish with thinly sliced white truffles and you may sense an increase in pheromones.

Known as a food of love, Chocolate containing caffeine and the happy chemical serotonin was considered it to be an aphrodisiac by the Aztecs. To spice things up, look for chili-infused chocolate to stimulate your senses further. Hot peppers stimulate heart-rate and blood flow. When pairing chocolate and wine, make sure that your wine is not sweeter than the chocolate!

Vanilla is also said to have aphrodisiac qualities. Set the mood with a vanilla candle and choose a red wine aged in new oak for vanilla flavours such as a Cabernet Sauvignon.

Thinking about wine, what is happening in Oakville? The Oakville Wine Enthusiasts Club (OWEC) is meeting on Friday, February 28th with presenter: Artisanal Wine Imports.

So there you have it: Antioxidants, Flavonoids, Aphrodisiacs