Meet the Grape: Carignane (sounds like karen yawn) is a grape that fares well in the Mediterranean climates of Spain, Algeria, Italy, and France, where it’s the most widely planted grape in the country. Carignane is known for providing two things: high yields — about 10 tons of grapes per planted acre — and cheapo, mediocre wine. The trick is to grow the bluish-black grapes on a slope to lower the yield or use old vines that tend to produce a less astringent wine. The result is a deep violet wine with lots of body, some spice and red fruit character. CarigNaan: When people say Carignane is a “food wine,” they probably mean that you shouldn’t take any chances drinking it on its own. Spicy Indian dishes like a juicy Chicken Tandoori or Keema Naan bread stuffed with lamb should help you take advantage of the wine’s eminently firm structure and clove and nutmeg spices.
One Under Ten: The generously names 2004 Les Hérétiques Vin de Pays de L’Herault, Iché for $7.99 is not only a mouthful to say. Get ready for big tannins, blueberry, fruit and herbs.