Tonique Cuisine

I’ll have a glass of wine please!

Wine is the healthiest and most hygienic of beverages.” It’s not me that said it first: Louis Pasteur did, somewhere around 1860. Since then, numerous researches tend to prove that to.

Recently, Quebec’s Collège des ambassadeurs du vin has awarded La Carte d’Or to Spa Eastman for the exceptional quality of its wine list. The College evaluates its candidates based on many criteria: the wine list’s graphic presentation, its descriptive and informational content, the way the wines are marketed, their storage conditions and how they harmonise with the meals proposed. La Carte d’Or is the acknowledgment of hard work, high standards and audacity in the world of fine wines.

Offering a quality wine list, which also includes a selection of organic wines, is just another way for Spa Eastman to inform and raise awareness to the importance of healthful and natural nutrition.

Wine has always been a natural product even though its therapeutic properties have been forgotten (with good reason!) as pesticides and herbicides became widely used in vineyards in the mid-twentieth century. Thankfully, organic agriculture has regained its role in numerous vineyards, which allows us to rediscover wine’s original properties…without the pesky headaches! With organic, natural wine list, Spa Eastman hopes to re-educate and rehabilitate wine consumption and call attention to its therapeutic properties without sacrificing the pure pleasure of savouring a truly good wine. Likewise, since its wine list offers a wide range of privately imported wines, Spa Eastman allows its clients to discover the charms of several natural wines.

Wine’s Therapeutic Properties
It is not alcohol in itself that has therapeutic properties, reducing the risk of cardio-vascular disease for instance, but rather red wine. There is often confusion between wine (an alcoholic beverage) and alcohol. Yet, the difference is quite substantial. When it is a question of beneficial alcohol, a distinction must be made between alcoholic beverages made by the process of fermentation (such as wine) and those made by distillation (aperitifs, digestifs and hard liquors).

Wine – red wine in particular – contains a substance known as polyphenols which is found in the skin of the grape. The most widely known polyphenol is called resveratrol, a molecule that thins the blood and reduces the adhesion of blood platelets to the walls of the arteries and veins which can result in potentially deadly clotting. It is believed that the resveratrol found essentially in red wine can also reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis. It is also considered good against cancer.

During the wine-making process, the grape juice, pulp, skin, seeds and stems are left in contact for as long as possible (which is not the case when making white wine). This process results in an increase in the amount of flavonoids contained in the wine. This is especially true if the wine is prepared, stored and aged in oak barrels as was our European ancestors’ tradition which is not the case for wines aged and stored in metal, cement, ceramic or glass casks. Flavonoids inhibit the production of “bad cholesterol” or low-density lipids and increase “good cholesterol” or high-density lipid (HDL) levels and consequently, lower the risk of coronary heart disease. These anti-oxidant flavonoids have been found to be as beneficial as vitamin E.

Why Drink Organic Wines?
Generally speaking, the primary advantage gained from organic foods is the absence of pesticide residues. Organically produced wine increases the soil’s microbial activity by avoiding the use of all products that are not natural. Therefore, no herbicides or pesticides, fungicides or chemical fertilisers are used. Lands where organic farming is practiced are the home of rich compost and manual or mechanical weeding techniques. Also, predatory insects are used against aphids and other nasty pests. These practices take a religious care of the soil and prevent all risks of ground water contamination. Some may even go as far as to replace heavy tractors with horses in order to avoid compacting the soil. Of course, by using these organic methods production is significantly reduced, however productivity is sacrificed for a quality that greatly exceeds that which is obtained through modern practices.

The Therapeutic Virtues of Wines
Red wines are particularly helpful in reducing stress, flu (especially when taken warm with a pinch of cinnamon or clove), fatigue, anaemia, insomnia, heartbreak, arteriosclerosis, hypercholesterolemia and cardio-vascular problems.

Rosés are particularly effective against intestinal sluggishness and generalized oedema.

White wines, used in alternation with certain herbal teas or specific types of mineral water, are helpful against generalized oedema, lazy stomachs and articular pain.

Champagnes relieve various allergies, bloated stomach, flatulence, lazy stomach, anxiety, loss of appetite, depression, insomnia, senility and premature ageing.

Here’s To Your Health!

Merry Christmas!


p.s. This document was prepared based on the workshop by Spa Eastman’s chief sommelier, Therapeutic Properties of Organic Wines, which is on the regular schedule. All scientific information in this workshop is drawn from the works of Dr Jean Claude Rodet.