Wine is enjoyable for many reasons. In addition to regaling your palate, when sipped with friends wine lubricates conversation, promotes bonhomie and arouses warm feelings about the world in general. Wine drinkers appreciate all those good things.
Now, thanks to the Indiana University School of Medicine, where scientists observed non-vegetarian, non-smoking women eating food, hard science reveals wine/alcohol makes food smell and taste better and aids in digestion.
This being a med school experiment, there were elements clearly weird by normal people standards. In the first test, the women tasting food were injected with alcohol. In the second, they were injected with saline placebo.
There apparently was no data collected about how being shot up with unknown substances before eating affects things, but whatever. These were willing subjects, and this is science.
Researchers studied injected eaters with fMRI scans when they were offered lunch. When injected with alcohol, subjects enjoyed food smells more and ate more food. Alcohol-injected women were particularly responsive in the hypothalamus—the part of your brain in charge of metabolic processing, the conversion of food into energy.
Researchers assert they discovered roots of the “aperitif phenomenon”—alcohol before a meal whets the appetite and makes ensuing repast more entertaining. Not to mention it helps make your boorish uncle sufferable.
Thank you Indiana University for confirming what most of us already knew, although I am less enchanted with getting my wine fix through needle injections. In any event, next time you pour wine you can authoritatively assert the Indiana School of Medicine scientifically proved you are doing this to make the meal smell and taste better and to promote more efficient metabolism.
• 14 Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend Columbia Valley 2013: Nice commodity wine for the money, as evidenced by its stampeding success. $8-11
• J. Lohr Seven Oaks Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2013: Well done, very nice wine at very nice price. $15-17
• Tait Wines The Ball Buster Barossa Valley 2012: Big Aussie pour wine writers adore: Parker 11 straight years of 90-plus points; Wine Spectator, Natalie MacLean, 90 points. $18-22
Last round: I love French wine. I am not a wino. I am a wineaux.
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