33 of the Best Gundry-Approved Wines High in Polyphenols

by | Jun 6, 2020

Yes, You Can Drink Wine on The Plant Paradox Diet!

Dr. Gundry’s Plant Paradox Diet allows you to drink wines high in polyphenols (unlike other diets). If you’re not sure which wines to drink or where to buy them, you’re in the right place. But before we dive in, let’s talk about the role of polyphenols. 

As we age, we become more susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases. But there’s good news. Polyphenols are known for being powerful antioxidants that help combat the oxidative stresses that lead to these diseases. 

Furthermore, grape seeds and skins contain a large variety of polyphenols. Because wine comes from grapes, it contains polyphenols. But the specific amounts of polyphenols in wine depend on the grapes used and how the wine is made. 

In this article, I break down the most common types of wine, which ones to avoid, what to reach for instead, and the top-rated choices you can buy without leaving your house (in every price range). Plus, you’ll learn some expert tips from Dr. Gundry himself on how to identify special wines that are extra high in polyphenols.

So, if you’re looking for delicious Dr. Gundry approved wines high in polyphenols (without crazy amounts of sugar), you’re in the right place. Let’s dive in!

High-Sugar, Low-Polyphenol Wines to Avoid (According to Dr. Gundry)

When it comes to The Plant Paradox diet, there are several types of wine you can immediately cross off your list. While some of them boast impressive health benefits, their high sugar content outweighs any of their potential positives. 

And there are plenty of other types of wine you can enjoy without all that added sugar. 

So, you’re better off not giving these high-sugar wines a second thought and sticking to wines on the “yes” list instead. But before we get to the “yes” list, let’s talk about which types of wine to avoid… and why.

Dessert Wines

Dessert wines range in flavor from dry to overly sweet and come in a wide range of alcohol content. You can also find a bottle at nearly every price point making them a popular choice. 

But, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of dessert? 

Sugar. 

And dessert wines are no different than their food pairing counterparts — full of sugar. So, avoid buying (and drinking) bottles of:

  • Fortified wine
  • Sherry
  • Port
  • Madeira
  • Marsala
  • Moscato
  • Banyuls
  • Riesling
  • Sweet Lambrusco
  • Sauternes
  • Tokaji
  • Vincento
A glass of rose wine, sweet red wine, and white wine sitting on a white surface.

Dessert wines tend to be very high in sugar and low in polyphenols. Which… is why they’re not on Dr. Gundry’s approved wine list for the Plant Paradox Diet.

White Wines

The production process of wine includes a pressing phase where juice gets squeezed out of the grapes. It’s usually the same regardless of the type of wine. But the next step is where white, red, and rosé wines begin to differ.

For white wine, the grape skins end their journey here. So, white wine is fermented without the most polyphenol-rich parts of the grape resulting in an end product that’s low in polyphenols.

Which… is why it’s best to avoid white wine altogether. So, if you’re looking for wines high in polyphenols, avoid buying:

  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Blanc
  • Riesling
  • Pinot Gris
  • Verdicchio
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Moscato
  • White Rioja
  • Marsanne
  • Vermentino
Two friends toasting with glasses of white wine at a party

White wine isn’t inherently unhealthy but it’s not as high in polyphenols as it’s red wine counterpart. So, it’s best to avoid white wines and stick to red wines instead.

Rosé Wines

With rosé wines, grape skins are soaked (or macerated) in the extracted juice for a short period of time (usually between 2 and 24 hours). The longer the skins soak, the redder the juice becomes. Which is why rosé wine exists in so many different shades of pink. 

After that, the grape skins are removed and the juice gets fermented. So, like white wine, rosé wine has fewer polyphenols than their red counterpart because they’re fermented without the skins.

So, if you’re looking for wines high in polyphenols, it’s best to avoid buying bottles of:

  • Pinot noir rosé
  • Grenache rosé
  • Sangiovese rosé
  • Cabernet Franc rosé
  • Cabernet Sauvignon rosé
  • White merlot
  • Pink Moscato
  • White Zinfandel
  • Carignan rosé
  • Syrah rosé
Two friends toasting with glasses of rose wine

The color of rosé wine depends on how long grape skins get soaked (or macerated) in grape juice prior to fermentation. Because of this, they tend to be lower in polyphenols than red wine.

The “Yes” List: Opt for a Glass of These Wines Instead

Now that you know what not to drink, let’s move on to the good stuff — the best wines high in polyphenols (and low in sugar). I know it seems like we crossed a TON of wines off our list, but there are hundreds of other types you can still enjoy (in moderation, of course). 

We’ll talk about how to find the highest polyphenol content wines in a bit. But for now, let’s focus on understanding the different types of wine you CAN drink on The Plant Paradox Diet.

Red Wines

As I mentioned earlier, white and rosé wines go through the fermentation process after the grape skins get removed. On the other hand, red wine goes through that process with the nutrient-rich skins included. 

So, the benefits of polyphenol-rich grape skins get passed along to the finished product. Which makes red wine a spectacular match for The Plant Paradox Diet and anyone searching for wines high in polyphenols. 

Next time you’re in the mood for a tasty (and guilt-free) glass of wine, reach for:

  • Malbec
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Zinfandel
  • Syrah/Shiraz
  • Sangiovese
  • Nebbiolo
  • Pinot Noir
  • Bordeaux
  • Grenache
A glass of red wine sitting on a ledge in front of a field.

The nutrient-based benefits of grape skins pass on to the final product you end up drinking. Which… is why they’re included on Dr. Gundry’s “yes” list for the Plant Paradox Diet.

True Sparkling Wines

If you’re not in the mood for red wine, you’re not completely out of luck. True sparkling wine is fermented (or double-fermented) in the bottle. Dr. Gundry says these types of wines are okay on special occasions. 

However, there are a lot of “fake” sparkling wines out there mixed with other types of wine and mass-produced in large vats (rather than in the bottle). While these are easier on your wallet, they usually contain high amounts of sugar. So, it’s best to avoid these and opt for higher-end. 

Stick to sparkling wines labeled “Method Champagnoise, Method Tradicional, or Traditional Method” as these are processed correctly in the bottle and not mixed with other types of wine. 

So, next time you’re in the mood to celebrate, grab a bottle of:

  • French Champagne
  • Prosecco
  • Spanish Cava
  • Crémant
  • Sekt
  • Brute (low sugar)
  • Extra brute
  • Brute naturalé
  • Italian Asti

Two glasses of champagne and a bottle of champagne sitting on a ledge overlooking the ocean.

Truly fermented (or double fermented) sparkling wines don’t contain a lot of sugar, so Dr. Gundry says they’re okay on special occasions.

Pro-Tips for Scouting Out Wines High in Polyphenols

While there are plenty of wines on the “yes” list, there are a few simple tricks you can use to find the best wines high in polyphenols. As Dr. Gundry explains in his video, specific regions yield higher polyphenol-content grapes.

And there are specific phrases you can look for on the bottle to ensure you’re making the smartest choice. So, watch the video below to learn more about Dr. Gundry’s approach to scouting out the best “yes” list wines high in polyphenols.

High Altitude – Higher Polyphenol Content

As Dr. Gundry explains in his video, grapes grown at higher altitudes have more protective systems in place that get passed along to the finished product. So, for an extra nutrient-boost, look for the “high altitude” label or choose wines from the following regions:

  • Northern Italy (near Switzerland)
  • Switzerland
  • Argentina
  • Maipo Valley, Chile
  • Austria
  • Tempranillo

 

The Best Low-Sugar, High-Polyphenol Wines You Can Buy Without Leaving Your House

Now that you know what types of wine are highest in polyphenols and what to look for, you’re probably wondering where to buy them. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the best-rated wines in every price range. From a dirt cheap Spanish Borsao Tinto to a bank-breaking French Vieux Chateau Certan (hey, YOLO!), there’s something for everyone. 

Wine.com is one of my favorite places to buy wine online. They offer fast shipping and you always know exactly when your wine ships out. Plus, you can sign up for their StewardShip program ($49/year) for free shipping. It’s like Amazon Prime… but for wine!

Their wide selection makes them one of the top choices when you’re looking for something new without having to leave the comfort of your house. AND new users can save $20 off a purchase of $100 or more by entering the code NEW2020 at checkout!

1. Malbec

Malbec is known for having bold flavors and a decadent texture without all the added sugar. These grapes originated in Bordeaux, France but made their way to Mendoza, Argentina in the 1860s (bonus: both locations are high-altitude!). Malbec pairs well with dark meat, lean red meat, cheese dishes, and vegetables.

High-End

Catena Zapata Argentino Vineyard Malbec 2017

Catena Zapata Argentino Vineyard Malbec 2017
$140.00

Mid-Range

Vina Cobos Bramare Uco Valley Malbec 2016

Vina Cobos Bramare Uco Valley Malbec 2016
$48.99

Budget-Friendly

Alamos Malbec 2018

Alamos Malbec 2018 from Mendoza, Argentina
$13.00

 

2. Merlot

Merlot is a dry, red wine known for hints of approachable fruity flavor and earthy tones. These grapes are dominant in Bordeaux, France but also thrive in other regions like Napa Valley, California. It pairs well with chicken, other light meats, and roasted vegetables.

High-End

Hickinbotham The Revivalist Merlot 2014

Hickinbotham The Revivalist Merlot 2014
$99.00

Mid-Range

Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2017

Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2017
$56.99

Budget-Friendly

Santa Ema Reserve Merlot 2017

Santa Ema Reserve Merlot 2017
$15.99

 

3. Cabernet Sauvignon — One of the Three Top Wines High in Polyphenols

Cabernet sauvignon is best known for its ability to age well for decades at a time creating bold and concentrated flavors. These grapes flourish in places like France, Chile, and California. And in the late 1990s, DNA profiling showed these grapes originally came from the crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in the 17th century. 

Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with red meat, lamb, and tuna, and tastes great when used in sauces and reductions (but be sure to avoid pairing it with pasta).

High-End

Santa Rita Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Santa Rita Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
$94.99

Mid-Range

Catena Alta Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Catena Alta Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
$55.00

Budget-Friendly

Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
$22.00

 

4. Zinfandel

Zinfandel grapes thrive in many regions of California due to its unfounded ability to adapt to different climates. However, Zinfandel was born in Croatia and later made its way to southern Italy. This is a dry, red wine known for its spicy, fruity, and bold flavors. Zinfandel pairs well with any type of meat like lamb chops or porterhouse steaks.

High-End

Martinelli Vellutini Ranch Zinfandel 2011

Martinelli Vellutini Ranch Zinfandel 2011
$64.99

Mid-Range

Birichino Saint Georges Old Vines Zinfandel 2015

Birichino Saint Georges Old Vines Zinfandel 2015
$28.99

Budget-Friendly

7 Deadly Zins Zinfandel 2017

7 Deadly Zins Zinfandel 2017
$15.99

 

5. Syrah/Shiraz — One of the Top Wines High in Polyphenols

Syrah, known as Shiraz in different parts of the world, is a dry, fully-opaque red wine. It’s famous for its rich color and savory aromas. Syrah grapes are the most widely grown plant in Australia where they’re imported to places like Washington and California waiting to be made into a delicious and luxurious wine for you to enjoy!

Syrah pairs well with delicate foods and flavors like lamb, smokey cheeses, and vegetables.

High-End

Duemani Suisassi Syrah 2016

Duemani Suisassi Syrah 2016 from Tuscany, Italy
$164.99

Mid-Range

Jean-Luc Colombo Cornas Les Terres Brulees 2015

Jean-Luc Colombo Cornas Les Terres Brulees 2015
$69.99

Budget-Friendly

Smoking Loon Syrah 2017

Smoking Loon Syrah 2017 from Chile
$10.99

 

6. Sangiovese

Sangiovese is famous for offering the perfect combination of fruity flavors and earthy tones. It’s considered one of Italy’s most elite grapes and produces some of the top wines in the country. Sangiovese is a dry, medium-body red wine that pairs well with pasta and pizza dishes.

High-End

Argiano Vigna del Suolo Brunello di Montalcino 2015

Argiano Vigna del Suolo Brunello di Montalcino
$200.00

Mid-Range

Altesino Brunello di Montalcino 2014

Altesino Brunello di Montalcino 2014
$59.99

Budget-Friendly

Avignonesi Rosso di Montepulciano 2017

Avignonesi Rosso di Montepulciano 2017
$18.99

 

7. Nebbiolo

Nebbiolo is named after the autumn fog that rolls through the hills of Italy. It’s one of the most popular varieties in the region surrounding Piedmont, Italy. Furthermore, some growers in California are experiencing success growing these decadent grapes.

Nebbiolo is an acidic, full-bodied wine that has a translucent appearance and pairs well with italian cheeses, garlic dishes, and tomato-based sauces.

High-End

Vietti Barolo Lazzarito 2015

Vietti Barolo Lazzarito 2015 from Piedmont, Italy
$194.99

Mid-Range

Michele Chiarlo Barolo Tortoniano 2014

Michele Chiarlo Barolo Tortoniano 2014
$60.00

Budget-Friendly

Damilano Marghe Nebbiolo Langhe 2016

Damilano Marghe Nebbiolo Langhe 2016
$27.99

 

8. Pinot Noir — One of the Three Top Wines High in Polyphenols

Pinot noir grapes are known for being difficult to grow. It’s a dry, red wine with notable flavors like strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. Pinot noir has a pale red appearance and as it ages, it combines fresh earthy flavors with savory spices and other dried fruits.

It pairs well with a wide range of food like salmon, tuna, chicken, beef, duck, and mushrooms.

High-End

Louis Jadot Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru 2016

Louis Jadot Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru
$278.99

Mid-Range

Bouchard Pere & Fils Chambolle Musigny 2017

Bouchard Pere & Fils Chambolle Musigny 2017
$80.00

Budget-Friendly

Vina Leyda Pinot Noir 2017

Vina Leyda Pinot Noir 2017 from Chile
$17.99

 

9. Bordeaux

Bordeaux is one of the most commonly known wine blends around the world. It started in France and quickly spread due to its dense color, bold aroma, and fruity + earthy flavors. Blends from France tend to lean to the earthy side while blends from elsewhere taste more fruity.

Bordeaux pairs well with heavy meats like steak and lamb and some blends pair well with savory lean meats such as pork and duck. You could also include sides like potatoes, roasted vegetables, and mushrooms.

High-End

Vieux Chateau Certan 2016

Vieux Chateau Certan 2016 from France
$429.99

Mid-Range

Frescobaldi Nipozzano Mormoreto 2015

Frescobaldi Nipozzano Mormoreto 2015
$94.99

Budget-Friendly

Aia Vecchia Lagone Toscana 2017

Aia Vecchia Lagone Toscana 2017
$15.99

 

10. Grenache

Grenache grapes thrive in warm, meditteranean climates with a lot of sunlight (more sunlight = more polyphenols). It’s a dry, full-bodied red wine that tends to be lighter in color. Wines made with grenache grapes are full of flavorful fruity undertones.

Grenache pairs well with grilled meats like beef, pork, and chicken as well as hearty dishes like moderate to non-spicy Asian meals.

High-End

No Girls La Paciencia Vineyard Grenache 2013

No Girls La Paciencia Vineyard Grenache 2013
$144.99

Mid-Range

Palacios Remondo Rioja Propiedad 2015

Palacios Remondo Rioja Propiedad 2015
$52.99

Budget-Friendly

Borsao Tinto 2018

Borsao Tinto 2018 from Spain
$9.99

 

11. True Sparkling Wines

Sparkling wines, when processed correctly, contain natural carbonation and are known for the sound they make when you open the bottle. These wines tend to pair well with foods like Brie cheese, fish, grilled veggies, and buttercream sauces.

French Champagne

Bollinger Brut Special Cuvee

Bollinger Brut Special Cuvee from France
$79.00

Spanish Cava

Gramona Imperial Gran Reserva Cava 2014

Gramona Imperial Gran Reserva Cava 2014
$29.99

Prosecco

Bisol Cartizze Prosecco Superiore 2018

Bisol Cartizze Prosecco Superiore 2018
$47.99

 

Find Your Next Favorite Wine High in Polyphenols, Today!

Wine.com has a phenomenal search feature that allows you to search by region. So, if none of the wines on this list sound good, you can start by searching based on the high-altitude regions Dr. Gundry recommends in his video.

From there, you can filter by type, price, rating, and bottle size. But, make sure you stick to red wines rather than rosé or white as they’re higher in polyphenol content and lower in sugar. Click here to start shopping, now!

FAQ

What are the wines high in polyphenols?

Red wines have the most polyphenols but rosé wines also have some as well. However, Dr. Gundry recommends opting for reds because they have the highest polyphenol content. True sparkling wines are also okay on special occasions.

Which red wine has the most polyphenols?

Pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, and syrah are dry wines containing the highest levels of polyphenols.

How much sugar is in wine?

Sweet wines like dessert wines contain a significant amount of sugar so it’s best to avoid those altogether. Red wines, on the other hand, have less sugar and contain high levels of antioxidant polyphenols known for lowering your risk of disease.

Where do the polyphenols in wine come from?

The polyphenols in wine come from grape seeds and skin during the production process. Red wines get fermented with the skins so they’re much higher in polyphenol content than whites and rosés. Which… is why Dr. Gundry recommends sticking with red wines.

What wines does Dr. Gundry recommend?

Dr. Gundry recommends red wines high in polyphenol content. These wines come from grapes grown in high-altitude regions like northern Italy, Chile, and Austria. Some of the most popular wines to choose from include pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, and merlot.

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Remy Tennant
Founder , Human Food Bar
Corporate slave by day, health and fitness enthusiast by night, hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area. From the Plant Paradox Diet to Keto to Paleo, I’ve done my homework and am generally well versed. In my free time I like to blog, cook, mixologize, garden and mountain bike.
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Remy Tennant
Founder , Human Food Bar
Corporate slave by day, health and fitness enthusiast by night, hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area. From the Plant Paradox Diet to Keto to Paleo, I’ve done my homework and am generally well versed. In my free time I like to blog, cook, mixologize, garden and mountain bike.
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