Q: In your article, "Pop the Champagne for Heart Health," you did not specify whether the researchers used "true" Champagne or sparkling wine. Also, the article implied using blanc de noirs instead of blanc de blancs. Was the research more specific? French Champagne is a little out of my budget. —Anon.
A: The scientists at the University of Reading declined to specify which sparkling wine they used in their study. However, since their research was conducted with assistance from two biochemical and molecular biology centers in Reims, France, the heart of Champagne country, it's a safe bet they used Champagne. While to our knowledge no one has tried this experiment with other sparkling wines, the scientists focused on Champagne because most of it is made with both red and white grapes. They theorize that some of the abundant polyphenolic compounds in red grapes, which are believed responsible for many of wine's health benefits, must be absorbed into the wine, even if the red color pigments are not. (White wines do have polyphenols, just not as much.)
While some sparkling wines are made with just white grapes, many are made with a blend of red and white, so it's perfectly possible that other sparkling wines offer the same benefits. In fact, one study from Spain found that drinking cava improved arterial health. Obviously more research is needed, so start popping corks.
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