Five reasons to drink champagne (as if you need encouraging)

Found this report in the Daily Telegraph online which claims to have discovered five ‘health-benefits’ from drinking champagne. While readers of this blog will need no encouragement to open a bottle of fizz (and we all know champagne is good for the soul), I feel it deserves closer examination.

Apparently drinking champagne will ‘improve your memory’, or at least the compounds found in the two red/black grapes used to make champagne do. OK so that puts Blanc de Noirs styles of fizz on the menu. Though as I suspect these beneficial compounds are mostly found in the skins of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, rosé champagne, especially Rosé de Saignée styles made where the colour pigments are literally ‘bled’ from the skins, are even better. You don’t want blends diluted with Chardonnay however as most non-vintage styles typically are.

The second benefit is that champagne is good for your heart. Again it’s the high level of polyphenols found in red/black grapes that can lower blood pressure and prevent heart problems. I’m not sure about “It gets you drunk quickly”. Perhaps they were trying to say champagne is a ‘mood enhancer’ and helps people relax. Nor can I enthusiastically embrace the idea of pouring champagne into a pint glass filled with ice, à la Bill Murray. Though Moët and Lanson, to name but two producers, do both make sweeter styles of champagne designed to be drunk over ice. For most champagne, chilling it severely will merely make it pretty tasteless, which is what you may want to do with some of the £10 bottles on the market this Christmas.

As for improving your skin, I’ve never tried that and frankly I’d rather drink it. The final point about lower calories has some validity, and the trend towards lower dosage levels with residual sugar these days more often at 7-10g/l or lower, sometimes much lower, not the 12g/l of a decade or so ago, supports this suggestion. And there are also quite a few non dosée champagnes (with no sugar added when the wine is disgorged) on the market today, a point the author fails to make. The graphic seems to suggest champagne has an alcohol level of 9%, whereas it’s actually normally 12%, so perhaps the author is thinking of a little known Italian sparkler which packs less punch.

Oh here’s the link for you to make up your own mind:

Five ‘health enhancing’ Blanc de Noirs
Waitrose Blanc de Noirs, £21.99 a bottle, £16.50 under it’s buy six save 25% deal that ends today (10 November).
Mailly Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs, £34.95 a bottle (Berry Bros & Rudd,
Eric Rodez Blanc de Noirs, £34.95 a bottle  (Berry Bros & Rudd,
Devaux Blanc de Noirs, £29.75 a bottle, down from £35 (Oddbins)
Roger Brun, Rosé de Saignée 4 Nuits, POA

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