Tuesday 19 December 2006
Wines from the Gascony area of Gers in South West France are the healthiest in the world, according to a study published in the scientific journal ‘Nature’. The beneficial effects of moderate drinking of wine (especially red wine) have been known for many years, but what intrigued the researchers, was to determine whether different wines varied in their impact.
In order to carry out the study a team from the University of London examined a selection of red wines from throughout the world.
What the researchers found was the wines from the Gers contained up to four times the level of life enhancing ‘polyphenols’ than other wines. They attribute the high life expectancy of men in the Gers to their consumption of the local wine.
Professor Roger Corder and his team put this down to traditional winemaking techniques used in the Gers and the predominance of the grape variety ‘tannat’, which is not commonly used elsewhere in the world.
Traditional techniques allow a longer fermentation period for the wine, which increases the ability to extract maximum benefit from the polyphenol rich tannat grape. Not all producers in the region use these techniques, so Professor Corder cautions against indiscriminate buying.
The Gascony region of France is known for its chunky red wines from Saint Mont and Madiran, used to accompany the traditional local dishes of confit de canard, garbure and magret.
Professor Corder’s prescription for a long life – ‘half a bottle of good Madiran a day'!