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February 2005 Issue
Red Wine
by J. Sinclair
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Red is all around us ... after all, it's February and everywhere you look you are bound to see red roses, red hearts or red underwear! So I'm joining in the fun and focusing on red wine!

One of the most interesting things I've learned about red wine is that its color comes from the skins of the grape from which it is made. The skins are left with the crushed grapes to allow the liquid to absorb pigments, tannins and flavors from them. Ah, but what a difference some of these skins can make!

So what about the rumors that red wine is good for your heart? Well, there is good reason to believe that drinking moderate quantities of wine, and particularly red wine, help to protect against heart disease. In fact, moderate alcohol consumption generally is associated with reduced risk of heart disease. But there is also overwhelming evidence that more than moderate levels of alcohol consumption lead to increased risk of disease, injury and death. So if you're not a drinker, please don't start with the assumption that it's for your health!

On the other hand, in addition to drinking, red wine can be a delightful addition to the food you serve at your table. It finds itself at home in everything from pan sauces to desserts ... and that's just what I'm offering you this month. My first recipe is a decidedly adult dessert option. But, oh, what delightful compliments you'll get when you serve this tasty, pretty granita in chilled wineglasses at your next party. Choose an aggressive red wine or the freezing process is likely to rob your dessert of its "punch" and leave your guests wanting more. Think of this as your favorite sangria frozen and served with a spoon!


Red Wine Granita

  • 1 c. water
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle full bodied red wine
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 lemon
Make a syrup by combining the water and sugar in a noncorrosive saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer the mixture for five minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and cool.

Combine the syrup, wine, orange juice and lemon juice and pour the mixture into two 8 x 8-inch cake pans. Cover them with plastic wrap and freeze them until the mixture is set, about 4 hours.

To serve, scrape the granita with a spoon or fork to create small shavings and spoon it into individual chilled wine glasses.

  • Yields: 8-10 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes plus freezing time

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