. . . an obsessive interest in the nutritional and therapeutic properties of wine. This seems to be a particularly American fixation, and it raises an intriguing question: Why are we — Americans — so anxious to find justifications for drinking wine beyond the fact that it tastes good and we like it?
. . . Personally, I'm thrilled to learn that red wine could help me avoid cancer, outlast opponents on the tennis court, survive a nuclear attack, and lead a long, lucid, and Viagra-free life. However, a little caution is in order. Most of the testing with resveratrol has been done on mice, and they have been given ungodly amounts of the stuff.
. . . Regardless of how beneficial wine ultimately proves to be for the heart, lungs, groin, and other body parts, we already know it has a powerful and mostly salutary psychological influence. Wine — or, to be more precise, the alcohol in wine — leaves us happy; it is a relaxant, a stimulant, a balm. It can make a bad day good and a good one better.
. . . if it turns out the mice have been screwing with us and that red wine carries none of these magical side effects, there will still be a bottle on my dinner table every night. Wine is a habit that requires no rationale other than the pursuit of enjoyment.