Whether or not it’s healthy to drink wine depends heavily on how much you’re drinking — and, as it turns out, on the type of wine you choose. Most people know that red wine is the healthier option compared to white or sparkling. It’s especially healthier than a carb-heavy pint of beer.
But not all reds were created equal, as any sommelier will explain. Different cultivars of grapes contain different nutrients and various wines are also prepared in diverse ways, meaning some have more sugar than others. And while most of the time we’re relieved alcohol doesn’t come with a nutrition label (sometimes we just don’t want to know), this left us curious.
So we consulted a few sommeliers to find out which red wines are really the healthiest. The healthfulness of red wine is largely due to its antioxidants. Resveratrol has been linked to lower risks of cancer, stroke, and heart disease, among other benefits.
“Pinot noir has the highest concentration of the highly touted antioxidant resveratrol,” Benjamin Appleby, top sommelier at Abe & Louie’s in Boston, told The Daily Meal. “It is pretty easy to make the case for pinot noir being the healthiest choice among red wines.”
But resveratrol wasn’t the only perk of picking pinot noir over another breed of red.
“Although virtually all red wines have almost no residual sugar, pinot noir typically has a lower initial sugar level before fermentation, resulting in a wine with less alcohol and fewer calories than, say, your average cabernet,” Appleby explained. “Finally, with its thin skin, pinot noir has fewer tannins, which, while they may have some health benefits of their own, can cause trouble for those susceptible to heartburn.”
While pinot noir will probably not heal you of all your health problems, if you’re going to pour a glass of something, it comes with the fewest consequences — as long as you’re drinking in moderation, of course. Pair your moderate one to two glasses with a healthy home-cooked meal and your weeknight vice just became your healthiest habit.