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Red Wine: Botox Free Aging Help 

The new fountain of youth may be only a drink away

In America's never ending search for the elusive anti-age goop, there's good news for those willing to raise a glass. Recently, a Harvard Medical School study announced more benefits associated with drinking red wine: It extends life. OK, so far the treatment only works in microscopic baker's yeast and fruit flies, but mice are on the docket, and humans won't be far behind.

In the study, yeasts and fruit flies received a regular dose of a molecule present in red grape skins called resveratrol. It heightens levels of an enzyme called Sir2, the substance scientists believe boosts lifespan. During fermentation, resveratrol gets released from the skins into the budding wine, resulting in a high concentration of the beneficial substance. White grape skins contain resveratrol as well, but since the grape juice doesn't come into lengthy contact with the skins during the fermentation process, the lower levels aren't as useful. The same goes for grape juice.

The benefits of wine emerged from the cellar and into the mainstream when 60 Minutes aired their now infamous "French Paradox" piece in 1991. The story reported on numerous studies citing the oddity of how the French savor butter, cream and croissants yet still avoid heart disease. I always thought it was their enviable short and stress-free workweek, but it turns out their consumption levels of wine as well as their smaller portion sizes help keep their veins free of fatty deposits.

But this new aging study introduces red wine to a whole new group of drinkers: those seeking self-preservation. Before, it was only heart healthy, now red wine massages the inner desire to live forever -- a thought everyone can relate to.

So how does a non-wine drinker wade into the red wine section enjoyably?

The typical entry level for wine is sweeter white wine, so jumping right into red wines like big-boy Cabernet Sauvignon can be an astringent experience at best. But there are fruitful options. Australia makes a bright, fruit-laden entry-level red wine called Shiraz. Although there are exceptions, Shiraz is easy drinking and deliciously approachable. It's also made by several different inexpensive wineries available at most grocery stores. If you're looking for variety, try those blended with Grenache.

Zinfandel, although the big, high alcohol versions are probably too much for the uninitiated, also comes in a light version. Some have fruit flying in your face, giving you the sensation of sweetness, so this might be the perfect entry point for those looking for deep flavor. Larger Zin producers offer light prices too.

For some foreign flare, you might explore soft Italian reds, like Valpolicella or Dolcetto. Besides being fun to pronounce, they're fruity, like eating strawberry jam, and gentle and sociable.

So until the researchers reverse the study results, drink and be red wine merry. This anti-aging method is certainly cheaper, and more fun, than Botox.

Here's a list of readily available, easy-drinking entry-level red wines, most under $10. They are generally very consistent year after year, so don't worry about vintages.

Recommended Wines

Rosemount Estates Grenache Shiraz $8

Rancho Zabaco Dancing Bull Zinfandel $10 1/2

Ravenswood Zinfandel $10 1/2

Yellow Tail Shiraz $7

Zeni Valpolicella $9

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