Wine is a Lifestyle. Every year, there is a flurry of headlines about the health benefits of wine. But can drinking wine really make a difference? Prepare to be amazed. More than just being heart-healthy, wine has a slew of surprising health benefits, many of which stem from resveratrol. Some plants make resveratrol to fight off bacteria and fungi, or to withstand a drought or lack of nutrients. Red and purple grapes, blueberries, cranberries, mulberries, peanuts, and pistachios are sources. Resveratrol may be the wonder ingredient responsible for many of wine’s benefits. Isolating the resveratrol does not yield the same powers, indicating that a constellation of forces act together to protect the body. Most studies focus on the benefits of red wine because white grapes do not contain resveratrol. Prepare to be amazed and relieved. You’re about to learn the basic knowledge of wine-drinking ritual and its powerful health elixir from LC Leong-Alsagoff.
What sparked off as a simple hobby of wine tasting developed into a passionate culinary pursuit which have taken LC to varied famous wine-producing regions; dined in independent restaurants of ‘signature’ chefs as well as ‘Michelin-starred’ ones.
As a wine merchant, she tastes all sorts of wine regularly. As an importer & distributor of renowned scuba diving brands such as Suunto, Atomic Aquatics and Seac in Malaysia & Singapore, she goes scuba diving around the world to checkout exciting dive sites. And, in her spare time, she enjoys polishing her markswoman skills.
Her lifestyle can be described ‘as living the dream’.
How many types of wine are there in the market?
LC: Basically, for wine category, alcohol content fall below 14%. So, you have a) Sparkling / Champagne b) white wine c) red wine
Where are the popular wine producing countries? Can suggest some popular wines?
LC : There are numerous wine producing countries nowadays. However, wine is more commonly defined or recognised by the regions from where the grapes are grown. For example, for Italian wine, famous regions are Toscana, Piemonte, and Veneto (although there are 20 wine producing regions); for French, famous regions are Bordeaux, Chateauneuf du Pape and Burgundy and many more; for California,
famous regions are Napa Valley, Sonoma and Mendocino, and many more.
Wine popularity is often mistaken for quality, and often misled by the advertising or availability in supermarkets and wine stores.
What are the most sought after wine nowadays? Any brand or label?
LC : Sought after? Numerous surveys done have found that most wine drinkers prefer red wine.
Novice wine drinkers tend to associate price with quality. The higher price wine in the stores does not necessarily mean better quality or vice versa.
How to differentiate good wine and bad wine?
LC : If you are asking about the condition of the wine, then there are a few tips to determine that….
- If the bottle unopened, looks like the cork is popping out, it is high chance that the wine is spoilt
- Once poured out into glasses, if the wine looks discolored or cloudy, whether white or red wine, it also likely the wine is spoilt
- Smell the wine – if smells odd or off, then it is an indication that the wine is bad. Good wine should emit aromas of fruit, oak or fragrant characters.
If you are referring to ratings of a wine, then that depends on individual taste. It will be a matter of liking the wine or not, and personal preference is the best judge of that.
How do you know what you prefer? Then you ought to embark on the ‘adventure’ of discovering wine and incorporate that into your lifestyle.
What are the benefits of drinking wine?
LC: Scholarly studies have determined that constant
consumption of small doses of wine with food, is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome and early death.
Then, there is the non-substantiated one, of contemporary lifestyle linked with wine and food pairing. Nonetheless, you must decide for yourself if you enjoy drinking wine, or not, together with your food!
Can you recommend how one should proceed with wine, to our readers?
LC: Almost always, wine drinking should be accompanied with food. My personal preference is to start my ‘culinary time slot’ with a glass of sparkling or champagne, accompanied by finger food. I find that it helps to awaken the taste buds into further action. Or, a glass of white first then, proceed to red, if I have a meat dish to follow.
General pairing suggestions:
- Light & seafood dishes with white wine like Sauvignon Blanc; Pinot Grigio; Chablis
- Laksa / curry dishes / nasi lemak with Chardonnay (white)
- Pizza / pasta / dishes with sauces with light reds like Pinot Noir; Merlot; Montepulciano
- Grilled dishes / roast meats with full-body reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Valpolicella, Malbec; Shiraz and Mouvedre
Specific pairing suggestions, personal preference:
1) Not only fresh Oysters pair with champagne or sparkling wine but Satay, crispy Roast pork, Fried chicken and Steamed Chicken rice too
2) Roast duck / lamb dishes (non-curry) with Chateauneuf du Pape reds
3) Steam fish with Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier or Lugana white
LC with Wolfgang Johannes Puck, an Austrian-born American celebrity chef, restaurateur, and occasional actor, at his award-winning steak restaurant, CUT.
Advice from 2Cents:
Wine is sophisticated but can still meet the needs of various budgets. Always remember that wine is fun, and with any new experience it’s entirely about what you make of it. Wine is emotional, once you connect with one that interests you, stick with that and build from there.