Name: Les Hérétiques
Grape: Carignane, Syrah
Region: Languedoc Roussillion, France
Price: $7.99 to $9.99
Named after the Cathars, a dualistic religious sect that once lived in the Languedoc. Among other things, the Cathars believed in two gods: one good and one bad, as well as in reincarnation and vegetarianism.
The popularity and heresy of these beliefs was challenging to the Catholic Church, especially because the Cathars refused to pay the Catholic Church's tithe, so the church started a series of crusades that eventually exterminated the Cathars. All that is left of the Cathars are a few remnant buildings and a regional dialect (the langue d'oc).
The Languedoc-Roussillion region borders the Mediterranean, Spain & Provence and can trace its winegrowing roots back to the 4th century. The wines here have always been held in high regard. In fact, during the 14th century, the wines from St. Chinian (a region within the Languedoc) were prescribed in hospitals throughout Paris, as they were believed to have "healing powers".
The grapes used in wine production in the Languedoc are similar to those used in the Rhone and Provence; Grenache, Syrah, Carignane, Mouvedre, etc... Because this region is relatively unknown, it is possible to find many great values here.
The Les Hérétiques, Vin de Pays de l'Herault is a blend of Grenache and Carignane. This wine will be deep purple in color with flavors of raspberries, blackberries and dusty, earthy chocolate. A wonderful accompaniment to fall flavors, roasted meats and winter squashes.
Stores: Astor Wines & Spirits $7.99 (399 Lafayette @ 4th St.), Smith and Vine $9.00 (246 Smith Street btwn Douglass and Degraw, Brooklyn), PJ Wine $7.49(4898 Broadway (between 204th and 207th Streets)