The 9 Most Heart-healthy Wines

The 9 Most Heart-healthy Wines

Need another reason to sip red wine? Red wine has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including longevity, lower blood pressure, and heart health. Go ahead and pour a glass of one of these heart-healthy wines to celebrate.

So, what makes red wine good for the heart? And which red wines are the most beneficial? 

Some of these wines may surprise you. 

Take a look at the top 9 heart-healthy red wines. 

How Does Red Wine Help Protect the Heart? 

The benefits of red wine come from polyphenols – naturally occurring compounds that have antioxidant properties. Polyphenols like resveratrol and procyanidins have been linked to a variety of health benefits, including cardiovascular health. 

How exactly do these compounds protect the heart?

Studies suggest that these polyphenols:

  • Boost good cholesterol (or HDL)
  • Lower bad cholesterol (or LDL)
  • Reduce blood clotting

So, wines with high levels of resveratrol and procyanidins are considered the best for your heart.

Picking a Heart-healthy Red Wine

Heart-healthy red wines share a few common traits.

First, red wines made in a dry style tend to have the most health benefits. 

What does “dry” mean, exactly? Dry red wines – including popular varietals like Pinot Noir and Merlot – are fermented longer than sweet wines, so they don’t have residual sugar. That doesn’t mean that these wines aren’t bursting with fruit flavors. The fruitiness you taste in wine is different from sweetness

Next, red wines with high tannins generally have more health benefits – but this is not always the case. 

Tannins – which give wine an astringent quality that you feel as a scratchy sensation on your tongue – come from grape skins. In general, thicker grape skins have more tannins and polyphenols. 

Wines with seriously high levels of these polyphenols can taste slightly bitter, so they encourage you to sip slowly. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Slowing down will help you appreciate a wine’s many aromas. Plus, when you sip slowly, you often end up consuming a smaller quantity and drinking in moderation is what allows you to reap the health benefits of red wine.

Not a fan of high tannins? Not to worry. The red wine that experts consider to be healthiest actually has low tannins.

red wine being poured into glass

The 9 Most Heart-healthy Red Wines

1. Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is considered the healthiest red wine you can drink. Unlike many of the reds on this list, Pinot grapes have a thin skin, so Pinot Noir has low tannins but high levels of resveratrol. Additionally, Pinot grapes – particularly those grown in cool-climate regions – start out with less sugar, so Pinot Noir has a lower ABV and fewer calories than fuller-bodied wines. 

2. Sagrantino 

A rare grape from Umbria – a region in central Italy – Sagrantino is an antioxidant-rich wine. In fact, according to a study, Sagrantino might contain the most antioxidants of any red wine out there. With bold notes of plum sauce, blueberry jam, black tea, and cocoa, this full-bodied red also has super high tannins.

3. Merlot 

Much easier to come by, Merlot is a medium-bodied red wine with notes of black cherry and plum. The second most popular wine grape in the world, Merlot has high levels of resveratrol and procyanidin which help to lower cholesterol and promote cardiovascular health.

4. Cabernet Sauvignon

This full-bodied red wine with notes of dark fruit and baking spice has similar cardiovascular benefits. Additionally, thanks to its particular flavonoid makeup, Cabernet Sauvignon helps to stimulate the production of a protein that plays a role in cell health.

5. Barbera

This red wine from Piedmont, Italy has bright notes of cherry plus a hint of licorice and dried herbs. Aside from being more affordable than other wines made in this region, Barbera is also noted for its heart-health benefits thanks to high levels of resveratrol.

6. Malbec

Malbec, a smooth red wine with notes of blackberry and chocolate, has high levels of antioxidants and has been linked to both heart health and immune health. Grown mostly in Argentina and France, Malbec grapes have a thick skin, giving this bold red wine robust tannins. 

7. Nebbiolo

Another red wine from Piedmont, Nebbiolo contains high levels of polyphenols like procyanidin. With red fruit notes and a hint of star anise, Nebbiolo also has some of the highest levels of melatonin, making it a good wine to sip at night if you have trouble sleeping.

8. Tannat

Tannat is a full-bodied red wine with notes of dark fruit and smoke. French Tannat – known as Madiran – can have intense tannins, so it’s sometimes blended with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon. In Uruguay, Tannat has smoother tannins and softer fruit flavors. Wherever it’s grown, this dark grape contains high levels of the antioxidant procyanidins, giving it cardiovascular benefits.

9. Cannonau 

You may not have heard of Cannonau, but it’s actually the same as Grenache – a popular French grape. In Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy, this grape develops an especially thick skin, giving it an abundance of antioxidants. With notes of ripe red cherries and blackberries, Cannonau has been linked to heart health and longevity

IN VINO FINITO

Need help figuring out which heart-healthy red wine best suits your palate? Email us at [email protected]! We’d love to help. 

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Comments

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Bright Cellars

Our staff is full of passionate wine lovers. With our amazing sommeliers at the helm, we’ve been schooled on all things wine. We came together to write this article, in hopes of spreading a little wine-ducation with you.

21 Comments
  1. Not a wine drinker at all but want to try to start for the health benefits. What I have tried, the super fermented wines have really bothered my stomach. Are there some you can recommend for heart health but won’t kill my stomach. Thanks

    1. Hi Brooke, we’re happy to hear you’re beginning your wine journey! We’d recommend a Pinot Noir, since it has high levels of resveratrol, but it’s still one of the lightest-bodied red wines (like Gamay or Schiava). That should be easier on your stomach. Thanks for stopping by, and don’t hesitate to reach out with any more questions.

  2. I really want to drink red wine for heart health…and I enjoy the taste. I some how always have a headache the next day. All I have is one or two glasses. That doesn’t happen with white wine. Do you have an explanation or any recommendations?

  3. My wife only likes sweet wine red, white, and moscoto
    Do they have the same benefits as the dry wines?

  4. My wife only likes sweet wine red, white, and moscoto
    Do they have the same benefits as the dry wines?

  5. Hi I have discovered that I have a heart condition and want to know if merlot are good for that

  6. Is there any. Sweet red wines good for your health..
    And what’s the best way to consume wine for your health
    I’ve not a drinker at all I’m 70 years old and I would like to try this

  7. I was introduced Merlot red wine, about 15 urs. ago, & as never stopped since then, but I think I’m buying & drinking the cheap & wrong type, I found myself so attached to a brand called “YELLOW TAIL MERLOT”, the taste becomes all I know, so I hereby ask your opinion of that brand.

    Should I continue, or change to another brand.

    I really need your opinion & your PROFESSIONAL advice!!!
    Thanks in advance!!!

  8. What is a good cheap sweet red wine, for person that is a diabetic and has heart problems.

  9. I have a hiatus hernia and find white wine impossible to drink without feeling sick. Recently I had two glasses of Cabernet Savignon and had no ill effects afterwards. Is there a reason for this? Thank you.

  10. used to drink cupcake red wine I’m looking for a red wine that’s good for your heart health says:

    What is a good red wine for better heart health that’s reasonable

  11. I love my wine!! I do have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, so I had to do some research about how good it is for me, since my doctor was giving me issues about it. I mean I had to find out if it is really good for you, so thank you for the read! Confirmed what I thought lol. I did find another great article I think is helpful, it lists pros and cons of red wine and coffee for older adults, https://www.ez.insure/landing/2021/03/coffee-vs-red-wine/ . What are your thoughts on it?

  12. Hi i want to try red wine,do you have suggestion,any sweet red wine?i dont drink and want to try for health benefits.

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