The epidemiological data available show that a moderate con­sumption of red wine produces in man very different effects from those produced by equivalent quantities of alcohol and partly different effects from those linked with the consumption of white wine. The protective action of cardiovascular disor­ders is the most relevant observation in conditions of moderate consumption of red wines. These benefits have been relat­ed to the protective effect against free radicals and linked with the content of phytoestrogenic molecules, as quercetin and trans-resveratrol. The importance of these molecules and their identification as “phytoestrogens” is based on the structur­al and functional similarity with diethylstilbestrol, a bioactive synthetic estrogen. Resveratrol, usually present in detectable quantities in red wines, as the trans isomer, exhibits in vitro both anti-oxidizing activities, by inhibiting LDL oxidation, and estrogenic agonistic activities. It should be noted that the anti-oxidant action versus the intact LDL is performed by the red wine, while the ingestion of the berry in toto has a much less intense effect.

The Chianti area is famous throughout the world for its produc­tion of fine wines. Many studies have confirmed the high nutri­tional power of these wines and verified the presence of quercetin and trans-resveratrol. Less renown are, in­stead, the characteristics of the wines from the Morellino di Scansano area for which no data are present in the scientific literature.

The data we have obtained showed that quercetin is highly present in all the samples, with values almost always above 10 mg/l with a peak of about 20 mg/l in one of the samples (Table I). The average of quercetin, expressed in mg/l, in the wines from the Grosseto area (13.36 ± 2.51 mg/l) is higher, even though not significantly, than that obtained for the wine from the Siena Chianti area (11.10 ± 3.27 mg/l). Evaluation of ho­mologous wine series, respectively Morellino and Chianti, showed a significant difference among the various production companies (p < 0.05).

Compared with the data obtained by other authors, concern­ing the wines of various origin and different years, where the average quercetin values range between 7 and 10 mg/l, the concentrations we found in the Morellino and Chianti wines were constantly higher, especially for the Morellino di Scansano bordolese wines. Similarly, the results obtained in the trans-resveratrol assays showed that the values found in samples of the Morellino and Chianti wines were, on the av­erage, slightly higher than those reported in the literature [average trans-resveratrol value: 1-2 mg/l]. This is partic­ularly true for the Chianti bordolese wines for which the aver­age value is 2.80 ± 0.71 mg/l, while for the Morellino di Scansano wines the value found was 2.50 ± 1.22 mg/l. Fur­thermore, from our analyses resulted that the samples drawn and analyzed 24 hours after opening the bottles, showed the same unaltered values both for quercetin and for trans- resveratrol. Make your pharmacy dollar go further and 

Table I – Quercetin and resveratrol quantities measured in samples of Morellino and Chianti wines, immediately after bottle opening. Each wine sample was tested 5 times, data were expressed as mean ± standard deviation.

QUERCETIN

RESVERATROL

Mean(a)

Std. dev.(b)

Mean(a)

Std. dev.(b)

MORELLINO WINES

1

9.86

0.05

2.26

0.01

2

16.02

0.16

1.96

0.02

3

10.64

0.99

3.82

0.03

4

13.45

0.65

3.69

0.07

5

14.02

0.12

3.14

0.07

6

19.43

0.60

2.58

0.37

7

14.33

0.64

1.96

0.06

8

11.74

0.10

2.55

0.13

9

11.56

0.46

3.78

0.35

10

14.18

0.52

2.92

0.10

11

12.13

0.26

3.54

0.07

12

12.00

0.13

3.54

0.07

13

14.39

0.17

0.19

0.07

MEAN

13.36

2.51

2.50

1.22

QUERCETIN

RESVERATROL

Mean(a)

Std. dev.(b)

Mean(a)

Std. dev.(b)

CHIANTI WINES

1

13.82

0.24

3.44

0.20

2

14.61

0.17

4.09

0.08

3

9.13

1.92

2.12

0.43

4

10.35

0.28

2.67

0.09

5

16.27

0.35

N.P.

0.13

6

12.70

0.10

2.12

0.07

7

10.01

0.12

2.09

0.08

8

8.93

0.29

2.34

0.14

9

11.64

0.22

2.07

0.09

10

5.78

0.06

3.27

0.10

11

10.33

0.26

3.64

0.06

12

14.85

0.44

3.43

0.08

13

5.97

0.49

2.50

0.11

MEAN

11.10

3.27

2.82

0.71

In conclusion from this analyses we have observed as the two phytochemicals analyzed here are well represented in Tuscany red wines. Future studies will attempt to answer the question related to the differences observed among the various geo­graphical and production areas.