Studies have shown (consistently) that the moderate consumption of alcohol and wine lower the risk of death due to heart failure. The French Paradox refers to lower occurrences of heart disease in France despite high levels of saturated fat in their diets. Some suspect this is due to their higher consumptions of wine by the French.
A component in red win called resveratrol has been shown to have cardioprotective and chemoprotective effects in animal studies. Resveratrol is produced naturally by grape skins in response to fungal infection. White wine has minimal contact with the grape skin during the fermentation process, so it generally contains lower amounts of this chemical. Red wine also contains other beneficial elements which include: polyphenols, antioxidants and flavonoids.
The Mediterranean diet includes daily consumption of red wine. Doctors suggest a limit of one 5 oz. glass per day for women and men over 65 and two 5 oz. glasses a day for men. When on the Mediterranean diet you have the choice of several different red wines: Cabernet, Chianti, Merlot and Pinot Noir. Each wine have their own distinct taste and suggested food pairings.