Researchers at Reading University are studying a subject near and dear to all of us: champagne. And the results of their work suggest that regular champagne consumption (three glasses a week) might give a boost to memory, possibly staving off dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
But before you get the ice bucket and flutes ready, keep in mind that this study was conducted on rats who had been fed champagne mashed up into their food. (There must be chefs deep into molecular gastronomy who are already devising a 15-course tasting menu where every dish is infused with champagne.)
Researchers point to phenolic acid, a compound found in red grape skins, as the key to their encouraging findings. So, in the world of healthy and happy rodents, is blanc de noirs the preferred style of champagne? And are they drinking true champagne or sparkling wine? Or is that moot? Could there be something about the process of making the best sparkling wines (via a secondary fermentation in the bottle) that provides more potential memory-boosting qualities than still wines produced from red grapes?
Like all potential breakthroughs in science, the phrase "more study is needed" is stated to temper enthusiasm and remind consumers that findings like these are preliminary. The good news is that scientists are hoping to conduct further studies on a group of humans who will need to drink champagne for a three-year period. (Any volunteers?)