Lesser-Known Wine Varieties

assyrtiko wine


For the past year, Dr. Erol Onel has been providing scientific leadership to Heron Therapeutics, Inc., as its vice president. He previously served as the vice president of medical information and clinical research at Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Outside of work, Dr. Erol Onel enjoys discovering unique food and wine pairings.

Many people are familiar with merlot, chardonnay, and other common wine varieties. However, there are also several lesser-known varieties of comparable quality. Below are a few examples:

Assyrtiko. This type of white wine comes from the island of Santorini in Greece and is developed using the unique Assyrtiko grape. These grapes grow in volcanic soil and provide the wine with a mineral, dry taste. Assyrtiko pairs well with light seafood and shellfish.

– Mencia. A mild red wine, mencia comes from northwestern Spain. It has frequently been compared to cabernet franc; however, this variety is particularly rare. The vines that produce mencia grapes are notoriously finicky and often have low yields.

– Picpoul. Featuring a high acidity, picpoul is typically grown in France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region and divided into three varieties: picpoul noir, picpoul gris, and picpoul blanc. Picpoul blanc grapes are nearing extinction, and the other two varieties may follow suit due to their propensity for developing a certain type of fungus.

– Petit manseng. Despite originally being from France and Spain, petit manseng has found a home in Virginia. This grape is often harvested late in the season and produces a complex, acidic wine that features flowery flavors and a spicy aftertaste.


American Heart Association Report on Heart Disease

American Heart Association
Image: heart.org


For more than a decade, physician Erol Onel has been working in the pharmaceutical industry. He has held such roles as director and vice president over the course of his career and currently provides scientific leadership to Heron Therapeutics as vice president. Dedicated to helping others, Erol Onel supports such charities as the American Heart Association.

The American Heart Association, the largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting stroke and heart disease, recently published the results of a new study on gut bacteria and clotting in its journal, Circulation. This study was funded by the Office of Dietary Supplements and National Institutes of Health.

The study was conducted on 18 volunteers, and included vegans and vegetarians as well as omnivores. All volunteers took supplements of choline bitartrate two times daily for two months. This resulted in trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) levels increasing by 10 times their original amount and caused platelets to form clots more often. Volunteers who took baby aspirin every day saw a decrease in clot formation, despite the higher TMAO levels.

According to the research, consuming excess choline, a nutrient commonly found in eggs, meat, and other staples of Western diets, increases the risk of clotting and the amount of the bacteria-produced compound TMAO. Excessive clotting reduces the flow of blood through the body and increases individuals’ risk of stroke, heart attack, and damage to the organs. Meanwhile, high levels of TMAO has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease.