Coming off a stressful weekend of travel to another country solo with four kids (Of course, right?  Eye roll…),  I am feeling drawn to the glass of vino that now sets beside me on the table.  Funny how this inspires me to write.  Tonight it’s Dreaming Tree’s Crush, a pleasant & affordable red blend, a collaboration between The Dreaming Tree winery and Dave Matthews.  Yes, that Dave Matthews.  Try it, it’s yummy.

I am here to represent to pro-benefits side of a glass or two of wine.  Being raised up in the aviation community, drinking has very much been a part of our social world.  While early on, I knew a few individuals who did not partake, by the later years, I can honestly say I don’t think I know anyone (except those of a religious leaning) that do not partake of some sort of adult liquid refreshment.  I can tell you for darn sure, each time I was pregnant, most especially the last time when hubs deployed and left me with the gift of insemination unbeknownst for the first couple weeks, I really missed the relaxing glow I felt after 2 glasses of wine.  And judge me not, but I am definitely of the crew that believes that a small glass of wine later on in pregnancy is fine.  My kids are all healthy and really intelligent.  True, I am no physician, but I am pretty sure that the French don’t stop drinking wine entirely for the full 9+ months of gestation, and there is no statistical indication that French babies have a higher rate of fetal alcohol syndrome or developmental delay just because wine is a significant part of their culture.

So, for the naysayers of the group, there are actually some scientific and academically recorded benefits to moderate consumption of red wine, specifically.  There are clear indications that the polyphenols in foods, and specifically in grapes, have a cardio-protective effect by inhibiting the oxidation process of LDL cholesterol.   Additionally, there are positive benefits to be reaped in the absorption of cholesterol, the assembly of triglycerides, and in the effect of inflammation (1)!   WHAT??  Pour me another!  The actual French Paradox, as in my title, is also related to high consumption of saturated fats and red wine amongst the French (2).   Uh, again, are you saying the maybe I can eat fatty cheese and olive oil soaked baguette accompanied by a delightful Bordeaux and actually be HEALTHIER?!?  Please, sign me up!

The reality is, as I have gotten older and stress has increased, I will openly say that I frequently turn to a glass of wine at the end of the day.  I enjoy the way it feels when I sit down after putting the babies to bed, sip a glass of delicious red nectar (and sometimes white), and unwind a bit.  Is this a form of self-medication?  I guess so.  But the reality is, I don’t routinely binge, it doesn’t negatively impact my relationships, make me miss work or appointments, and I NEVER drive (especially here where the BAC level of intoxication is .03 vs the .08 for most places in the US).  

I have definitely seen the downside of alcohol.  I am PASSIONATE about not drinking and driving, as a few years ago my cousin was killed by a woman who was so obliterated that she remembered nothing of the deadly event, at 6pm on a Sunday afternoon.  I watched the heartbreak and suffering of his mother, brother and grandmother in the aftermath, while this whore (sorry, not sorry) sat in court denying responsibility.  I had an alcoholic uncle who quite literally drank his life away.  I get it.  Alcohol can be even more of a bad thing than a good one, if it is allowed to get to that point.

Now, in conclusion, I offer a couple recommendations for you.  Having lived in California near many, many wineries of my favorite wine region, Paso Robles, I suggest if you can, that you try some of these (in no particular order, because I miss them all):

Midnight Cellars Zenith Estate Cuvee and Full Moon Red (Owner Rich is a delight)

Volatus Wine TOPGUN Cuvee and Bloody Well Right Tannat (Owner Hal is my hub’s former TOPGUN instructor and Navy fighter pilot)

Rombauer Vineyards Zinfandel (Ok this one is actually in Napa, founder is a pilot, but SO good!)

Castoro Cellars Tango (A scrumptious white blend)

Le Cuvier Winery (All their wines have changed since I’ve been, and though pricey, some of he BEST wines can be found here!  A real treat and a great view of the Paso valley.)

J Lohr Arroyo Seco Chardonnay (Delicious, buttery, oaked white, this grape is actually grown in Monterey, but their tasting room is in Paso Robles)

J Dusi Escandalosa (Owner and winemaker Janell is just a treat and her tasting room is fun and tasty!)

Barr Estate Winery Albarino (Owner Tealy is warm and chatty, the Albarino is a Spanish varietal that is so light and easy to drink…..dangerous on a hot valley day!)

Opolo Vineyards Summit Creek Zinfandel (A bit hidden back in the hills, but worth the drive.)

Well, that oughta get you started if you are heading to the Central Cali Coast any time soon.  Sadly, I can only get one of these favorites here in Japan, so signing up for a few wine clubs is definitely on my agenda when I return to the United States!!!

(As an aside, I knew I could find my own pictures of wine glasses, etc for this post and was amused at just how many I found to choose from!!  Man, do I miss Cali wines!)

Love and Cheers!!




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