Wine and sex

There is an old saying about lovemaking—a little wine increases the opportunity, too much wine decreases the performance.

An Italian research group looked into the first part of this proposition and found red wine did, indeed, increase the sexual appetite of women.

Alcohol in small amounts increases libido. It does so by stimulating a primitive part of your brain called the hypothalamus, located right above your brain stem. The hypothalamus regulates basic functions—hunger, body temperature, parental attachment, hormone levels, and—umm—sex drive.

The Italian researchers noted alcohol tends to arouse women more than men. It could be argued men don’t need much—or anything—to get aroused, but it appears smell is an important factor for women and women are aroused by different smells than men. Women respond to earthy, musky, woody, cherry-like aromas. Guess what, those are descriptors of red wine aromas.

Smell memories are among the strongest and longest-lasting memories we have. When you enjoy a particularly amorous adventure that included a certain wine, odds are excellent the smell of that wine will excite you again. Lovers take note.

Alcohol in general reduces inhibitions, which can lead to more ambitious trysts. All well and good, but the researchers also reported the wine-libido connection works best when wine is enjoyed in moderation. You can have too much of a good thing, which then becomes a bad thing.

Enjoy a glass or two of wine tonight. See what happens next. Indulge in a bottle or two of wine tonight, see what does not happen next. Just saying.

Tasting notes:

• Mezzacorona Cabernet Sauvignon, Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT 2016: Simple easy drinker; drinks like an authentic cabernet sauvignon rather than commodity red plonk. $6-8 Link to my review

• Alma Negra Brut Nature Sparkling Wine, Mendoza NV: Provocative wine that challenges your pat assumptions about sparkling. This stuff grows on you. $18 Link to my review

• Jacques Capsouto Cotes de Galilee Village Cuvée Albert Gran Vin Blanc 2016: Blend of 65% roussane, 30% clairette, 5% marsanne. Certified kosher; not mevushal; Israeli. $29 Link to my review

• Bending Branch Winery Double Barrel Tannat 2017: Rich, assertive, classic high tannins, dark fruit character. High alcohol (15.7% ABV), but does not burn on the finish. $38 Link to my review

• Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs NV: Precise wine, charming qualities. Finesse with solid beam of apple and citrus from initial attack to extended finish. $65-90 Link to my review

Last round: Wine: Helping people enjoy sex for eight thousand years.