Reds: it's the polyphenols you know

Lindemans red wineDrinking a couple of glasses of red wine every day isn’t just enjoyable, it’s also good for you. Red wine is rich in chemicals called polyphenols. Research has shown that these compounds expand your blood vessels, making it easier for blood to flow. They also fight hardening of your arteries, the major contributor to heart disease.

swirling wineTo get the best effect we need to be on the look out for reds high in tannin. If, like me, you’re not a great fan of tongue-curling tannin, then ‘decant’ the wine before drinking – slosh it into a jug to mix in air and reduce the stewed-tea taste. Wines heavy on tannin also tend to taste better with food than on their own.

Try matching Italian Nebbiolo or Sangiovese with a healthy dish of pasta and Bolognese sauce, or a glass of French Cabernet Sauvignon with a cheese and biscuit supper. Spanish and Portuguese reds also contain high levels of polyphenols. These make great partners to your heart and hearty foods.

PG Wine Tips

£5.99 and under

There are a few fruity, slurpable wines among the forgettable masses.

Spar Italian Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

£5.79 Spar

This deep red wine has aromas of spiced plum and cocoa, with flavours of sloe and burnt toast.

Wombarra ShirazWombarra Australian Shiraz 2010

£5.99 Co-op

This Aussie red is new at the Co-op and is a must for those who like their fruity reds with backbone: liquorice predominates then blackberry and dark coffee bitterness.

Costs a bit more, but tastes great

Sometimes a bottle of wine tastes so fab it's still a bargain whatever it costs.

Santa Rita 120 Chilean Carmenere 2010

£6.99 Co-op

A rich and smooth red with aromas and flavours of creamy crème fraiche and blackcurrant, with hints of violets and Marmite.

Finca Constancia Spanish Vino de la Tierra de Castilla 2009

£6.99 Ocado (down from £9.99 until January 24th)

This is a polyphenol whopper – a blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Graciano – all rich and tannic grape varieties. But they’ve been blended and aged into strawberry smoothness with hints of Bourbon biscuit and cream. Nice.

Chateau Henry de France, Premiere Cotes de Bordeaux 2008

£7.49 Spar

Deep flavours of blackberry, plum, liquorice and espresso but surprisingly light bodied.

Beronia Spanish Tempranillo Rioja 2009

£8.99 Ocado (down from £11.49 until January 24th)

A medley of yoghurty red fruit flavours – creamy raspberry, strawberry, cherry and vanilla – with cinnamon. A light winter wine.

This article has also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on MatureTimes.co.uk