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Don’t get all excited, it’s not like it sounds.

On second thought, maybe it is.

Carnival of Love is the name of the # 9 choice in Wine Spectator’s top 100 most exciting wine picks of 2008. The magazine’s editors reviewed more than 19,500 wines from around the world in a blind tasting to determine the top 100 list of the year. This post-toast is about the nutritional value of red wine, but before I launch into that, I have to mention something about this wine. Anything named Carnival of Love deserves a second look, especially on Valentine’s Day.

According to Wine Spectator, Carnival of Love is one of the few great Australian Shirazes priced under $100. Yes, $90 is under $100, but that’s still out of my price range, so no taste testing for me. I guess I’ll have to trust the editors unless they want to send me a case to ponder over.

Mollydooker, which is Aussie for left-hander, is the winery of Sarah and Sparky Marquis and home to this wonderful wine. No doubt a creative couple, they have several award winning wines with equally engaging names. Blue Eyed Boy is another one of Wine Spectator’s choices for most exciting new wines. Described as a blockbuster Shiraz with ripe and powerful fruit, seamless tannins, and a long finish, this one comes in at $55 a bottle (we’re getting closer). Goosebumps, Enchanted Path, and Velvet Glove round out my favorite Mollydooker names for reds, although none of them fall into my steadily slipping price range. Then again, it’s Valentine’s Day. What better way to spend your money than on a Carnival of Love or a Blue Eyed Boy?

But I digress. Back to my focus, which is the nutritional value of red wine.

Along with dark chocolate, which I fussed about and fawned over in my last post, red wine is now considered part of a healthy diet. That might be a bit of a stretch, but studies are showing that resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine may have beneficial effects on overall health and on the aging process. There are no human studies yet that substantiate the positive outcomes that have been documented in animal studies, but it’s something to think about. Moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, but that’s no reason to over-indulge. If you enjoy a glass of red wine on occasion, there’s mounting evidence that it may be good for you, although unsweetened grape juice may provide the same benefits. Breaking open a bottle of grape juice over a candlelight dinner just doesn’t create the same mood though. Nah, I’ll opt for the wine.

Since wine is gluten-free and I love red wines, a nice Pinot Noir, a smooth Merlot, or a velvety Cabernet is my indulgence of choice. Having said that, I find that more than one glass of wine can interrupt my sleep and most of the time sleep trumps wine for me. Alcohol might help you fall asleep, but it can interfere with your sleep cycles and mess with your deep REM phase of sleep. The REM stage is where your body and brain recover and regenerate. I don’t want that second glass of Merlot to barge in on any neuro-regeneration I’ve got going on at 2 AM. Seriously, I need all the help I can get.

Bottom line when it comes to wine?

It’s Valentine’s Day — the one day of the year that red wine and dark chocolate are nothing but health foods.

Now go forth and do some merry-making at the carnival of love.

Melissa
x o x o

22 Responses to “carnival of love”

  1. Miles says:

    Melissa,
    After tonight it’s cold beer and that’s it.
    You enjoy your wine, sleep cycles come and go-like mine when the hotel night porter walks into my room at 4.15 am :(

    Miles

  2. Kay says:

    No red wine (except for cooking) or chocolate for me. Rats!

    Come back to my blog to see the photos!

  3. Kay says:

    BTW, did I mention you can even add dryer lint to your compost? It breaks down pretty fast and you don’t have to send it to a landfill.

    Earth to earth, baby!

  4. Melissa says:

    Miles,

    No beer for me as it’s full of those icky things like wheat and barley.

    :-)

  5. Melissa says:

    Kay,

    Wow, you really are limited with your food choices. No wonder you grow everything yourself!

    Yes, it’s nice to have those photos to go with your worm ranch (farm?) talk. Dryer lint? Kay, this is a Valentine’s Day looove post, not a worm and lint post. But really? You can put dryer lint in your food composting? Wow, that’s actually every bit as interesting as exotic wine choices! Thanks for the tip.

    :-)

  6. greedydave says:

    Melissa, yep I have to agree, given the choice between a carton of grape juice and a bottle of wine I would undoubtedly pick the latter. It’s fabulous when you find something that breaks the norm of, ‘if it tastes great then it’s bad for you.’

    Aussie wine has absolutely dominated the UK market this last decade. I suspect that’s because no-nonsense Aussies make wine more accessible to your average consumer. Certainly that’s true in my case. I think maybe there are too many people who want to build up a mystique and couture in wine drinking which turns many people away. Australians won’t stand for that kind of foolishness and I can only assume that’s why the UK market has latched onto it. A bottle of wine is to be enjoyed, not venerated.

    I really enjoyed your chocolate and wine posts over this valentines week, Melissa. I can’t be doing everything wrong! Thank you.

    Dave.

  7. Just let it be said that I was following your sage advice last night at our party. ;-) However, my neuro-regeneration was off because I didn’t even get to bed until 2:30 …

    Shirley

  8. Melissa –

    Have you tried the Frog’s Leap red and white wines. They are fabulous! All organic. Don’t know if you can get them there. You can check out their website here: http://www.frogsleap.com.

    -Ali :)

  9. Melissa says:

    GDave,

    Wow, very interesting about Aussie wines dominating the UK market. Your observations are well spoken and much to my thinking. I suppose that’s what I enjoyed about these wines from this Australian winery. Although I haven’t tasted any of them, my virtual visit to the Mollydooker Winery was a kick simply because of the fun the owners were having naming their wines. They just didn’t take themselves all that seriously, even though they are producing seriously fine wines. I like that approach.

    I love your view that wine should be enjoyed, not venerated. Thanks for your comments, all good points (mixed with humor as always).

  10. Melissa says:

    Shirley,

    Sounds like you had a rollicking Valentine’s party! Yikes, 2:30 AM is way out of my league. Those days are long gone, but I do enjoy good food, a nice glass of red wine, and great friendships. Sounds like you had all three!

    Rock on, Shirley!

  11. Melissa says:

    Ali,

    Thanks for the comments and link to the organic wines. I’ll check that out. I think you’re right-on about choosing organic wines, but they are harder to find. Here’s where, as nutritionists, we could launch into the whole “liver detoxing alcohol” thing and lose the charm of enjoying a glass of red wine. But choosing organic wine does lessen the load on the liver. Fewer toxins to deal with and that’s all good.
    :-)

  12. hey there
    here’s a pretty groovy website for the budget conscious wine lover – I am a regular reader…

    http://goodwineunder20.blogspot.com/

  13. Melissa says:

    Stephanie,

    You’re right, that’s a fun little site full of great wine talk and good links to more of the same. Thanks! I really appreciate you taking the time to leave that information! I just love how blogging leads to fun little secret finds.

  14. Melissa says:

    Hey Xenny, where are you?

    Stephanie (see above) left a comment and link to a wine blog, which had a link to a food blog with a wine focus. And now I’m curious if you are familiar with a South African professor named A.I. Perold who did some grape crossing and came up with a local (for you, anyway) grape called “Pinotage.” Are you familiar with this?

  15. Lo says:

    Hope you had a great V-day!!

    I love coming here. I always find a wealth of great content — both from you and other readers. I’m well stocked with wine info now… and can better justify my love for the red stuff!

  16. Melissa says:

    Lo,

    Thanks! I love visiting you guys over at “foodhappens” as well. Lots going on in your “neck of the woods” too and it’s always fun reading about it. This blogging thing is a lot of work, but it provides for so many good connections and learning experiences. It’s well worth the effort!

  17. Oh, rest assured, I am still in recovery mode from this “wild” act. LOL Not from over-imbibing (I had just enough in that department), but from staying up so late with our out-of-state guests, eating so many goodies, and all the party prep beforehand. The party ended shortly after midnight, but cleaning up and visiting kept us up that much later. Partying like a rock star can take a toll on a girl … LOL, but true. DH and I both have taken long naps yesterday and today and will head to bed early again tonight. Hopefully, we should be able to function at work tomorrow as a result. Good thing we only have these parties every two years …

    I checked out that Frog’s Leap site that Ali shared … those wines look awesome. What a great site. When I am out west again, I will look for those.

    Shirley

  18. michelle says:

    NOW you’ve posted about two of my favorite healthy ingredients: chocolate AND wine!! Happy Valentine’s day to you!

  19. Melissa says:

    Shirley,

    Sometimes that’s just what the spirit calls for — even if it does set you back a few days. Sharing good times with special people! Sounds like a great way to spend Valentine’s Day. Good for you.

    Yes, that Frog’s Leap site was “enchanting” wasn’t it?

    Sleep well!

  20. Melissa says:

    Hey Michelle,

    Good to “hear” from you. Yes, there’s nothing like a nice glass of good wine and big bite of dark chocolate!

  21. Liz says:

    I love to hear that wine is good for you. I have the same issue with sleep and wine actually — and noticed it this weekend after sharing a bottle with the A-man two nights in a row….

    Good thing that doesn’t happen often!

    Another great post Melissa (and I loved your chocolate one too!)

  22. Melissa says:

    Liz,

    Yes, wine interrupts my sleep too. But every so often it’s worth it.

    Sounds like you had a nice Valentine’s weekend. Was Henry around?

    :-)

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Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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