Wine’s health benefits

The wisecrack is “if you abstain from wine, you don’t live longer, it just seems like it.” Recent scientific studies suggest drinking wine actually may help you live a longer, healthier life.

According to a University of California report, alcohol beats exercise when it comes to longevity. In a 15-year study of more than 1,700 people, those who drank two glasses of wine or beer each day were 18 percent more likely to live past age 90. Those who exercised 15 to 45 minutes a day were only 11 percent more likely to make it past 90.

The study also noted those who engaged in a meaningful hobby two or more hours a day were 21 percent more likely to reach 90 and beyond. The same held true for coffee-drinking hobbyists.

Another study suggests red wine may be good for your teeth. The Spanish National Research Council found antioxidants in red wine help fend off harmful bacteria in your mouth. The council found polyphenols in wine were effective in combating bacteria’s ability to stick to your teeth and gums. They also tested the same chemicals obtained from grape seeds and red wine extract. Red wine won.

Finally, a University of Rochester study indicated consuming alcohol in moderation helps clean up your brain. Specifically, the alcohol decreased inflammation and removed toxins from the brains of mice. While the study cautioned intake of excessive amounts of alcohol damages your nervous system, moderate amounts may enhance your brain’s ability to remove waste. “Moderate consumption” in this study was 2.6 glasses of wine a day.

Bottom line: drink wine and coffee while you engage in a meaningful hobby, don’t overdo exercise. See you at your 90th birthday party with your teeth and brain in good shape.

Tasting notes:

• M. Chapoutier Côtes du Roussillon les Vignes de Bila-Haut Blanc 2016: Blend of three white grapes would be good value at twice the price; pair with a wide variety of dishes. $8-11 Link to my review

• Concha y Toro Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Carménère (Peumo) 2015: Tightly focused, assertive fruit; Chile’s signature grape; Chile’s leading winery. $16-19 Link to my review

• Steele Lake County Viognier 2016: Classic viognier elements—pleasant aromatics, good fruit and body, nice acidity. $19 Link to my review

• Frank Family Vineyards Zinfandel Napa Valley 2014: Makes love to your palate; plush fruit; expertly balanced; restrained alcohol, tannin, acidity. $32-37 Link to my review

Last round: Exercise makes you look better naked. So does wine. You make the call.