These days, it’s hard to get excited about a $7 bottle of wine. Too many are pleasant enough but simple and, ultimately, boring. So it’s a pleasure to discover one that’s a real gem—with enough verve and energy to interest even the most jaded oenophile.
The Domaine des Hospices de Canet 2005, a “simple country wine”—or vin de pays—from the Côtes Catalanes in the Languedoc-Rousillon region of southwestern France, is one such find. A blend of 60 percent Carignane, with the rest split evenly among Syrah and Merlot, the wine is like a softened version of a Côtes du Rhône. Juicy, grapey, and fun, it still has enough structure and grip to keep it interesting. The winery is owned by Domaine Cazes, one of the largest—if not the largest—producers of biodynamic wines in France. Biodynamic is beyond organic—farming is conducted according to the phases of the moon and some bizarre rituals sanctioned by a German organization called Demeter. The Domaine des Hospices de Canet is not certified biodynamic, but the farming practices are essentially the same.So what you have here is an inexpensive charmer that’s ideal for simpler foods such as charcuterie, cheeses, burgers, pizza, even stir-fries—in other words, a weeknight dinner at home. And it’s organic to boot. I’m going back for a case.
Currently, the Domaine des Hospices de Canet is available only at Cleveland Park Wines (3423 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-363-4265; clevelandparkwine.com), across the street from the Uptown Theater. But it can be ordered by any store in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia markets through Country Vintner.