French wine: Great taste, no headache.
I spent a month this summer in the Roussillon region of France, where, every night, I drank a couple of glasses of great local wine. This always resulted in a gentle lift and no hangovers whatsoever.
A couple of days after I got back, I drank the same amount of a good-quality California chardonnay. The gentle lift morphed into a head-spinner; the next day, I woke up with a screaming hangover.
I decided to try an experiment: For a stretch of time, I’d only drink French wines. I’ve felt much better from that day on.
When it comes to the headaches, many might point to the higher level of sulfites often used in American wines, claiming that the preservatives are the culprits. However, research on this is not conclusive.
Frankly, I think it boils down to alcohol content. Many American wines have a higher alcohol content (14 percent and more) than most French wines, which often weigh in at 13.5 percent or lower. Yes, it matters: If you drink a 12.5 percent glass instead of a 14.5 percent glass, you’re getting about 13.8 percent less alcohol in each glass you drink.
Fortunately, my newfound mandate comes at a great time. These days, with the strong dollar, you can find good values from France. In fact, most of the French wines I buy at Ingersoll Wines and Spirits are under $15 a bottle.
Look for Domaine de Poix Touraine (a lively, dry chenin blanc), Beauregard Bourgueil (a bright, food-friendly red made from cabernet franc) and Richemer Piquepoul, a racy white with a citrusy zip.
Ingersoll Wine & Spirits is at 3500 Ingersoll Ave. 255-3191; and 1300 50th St., West Des Moines, 327-9191.