Water makes up more than 80 per cent of most wine, so Galileo Galilei's observation that 'wine is sunlight held together by water' was scientific and poetic. Health-conscious wine lovers, however, are careful to drink a little more water that hasn't been squeezed from a grape alongside their fine vintages.
If you use water to quench your thirst, you will be more inclined to sip and savour the wine than to gulp it. Drinking water also slows the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream and reduces dehydration, one of the prime causes of the next day's hangover.
Omuse de Bordeaux still and sparkling mineral waters come from a source discovered in 1925 in the village of Abatille. The water was tested in 1931 by the Pasteur Institute, which identified it as beneficial for blood pressure, arthritis or problems with the kidneys or urinary tract.
It was also recommended for infants due to its lack of nitrates, while the institute said that 'due to its positive effect on blood detoxification, it is recommended to alleviate the effects of intoxication and its by-products on the body'.
'La Precieuse Bordelaise', as the water is also called, has a natural alkalinity and high sodium content without a particularly noticeable salty taste. Although more or less unknown until recently outside Bordeaux, it is available in Hong Kong from Jetson Trading and Perfect Vintage, which also distributes it in Macau. The water will be showcased at VinExpo from May 29 to 31.
'It is a very good water to drink with wine and very good for the health,' says Perfect Vintage chairman Gordon Yuen. 'It helps moderate the effects of drinking wine on the internal organs. In France, the water is supplied to hospitals. Apart from its health-giving properties, it tastes pleasantly refreshing and can be served with food, whether or not wine is also poured.'
Whether or not it is 'La Precieuse Bordelaise', a glass or two of water along with a good Bordeaux wine is probably a wise precaution.
'Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter, sermons and soda water the day after,' wrote Lord Byron, a man who was known to enjoy a drink. But he might have spared himself a few sermons if he had drunk a little more water with his wine.