Small glass of wine or two good for you

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

If you thought wine was either for snobs who drink it to relax in expensive restaurants or for toothless dronkies in the Cape who drink the cheapest wine to forget their troubles, think again. Wine is good for your health.

It has been well documented that moderate amounts of wine can raise your good cholesterol (HDL) and also thin your blood.

According to Debi van Flymen of Culinary Productions in Rosebank, Johannesburg, the relationship between wine and food goes back a long way.

She says there are long-standing traditions governing the pairing of certain wines with certain foods.

"Food and wine are naturally complementary. One general guideline is to pair lighter foods with lighter wines and heartier foods with bolder wines, but there are no rules. This proper combination of the appropriate wine with a delicious meal results in an enjoyable experience by all who participate in the event," she says.

Trevor Gower, a chef in Durban, says an old rule is that red wine is best paired with red meat and white wine with poultry and fish.

"Red wines generally contain tannins, which in combination with a fish dish will impart a metallic taste to the wine which is quite unpleasant. The same can be said for many red wine and cheese combinations.

"The acidity helps to cut through the oily richness of the dish. Red wines that do work well are low in tannin, and only work well with certain fish dishes," he says.

Gower advises people never to serve a dry wine with dessert and always to choose a wine that is at least as sweet as the confectionary delight being served.