Sébastien David’s Hurluberlu cuvée is a bottle that has become emblematic of a global coalition of winemakers striving to work to create wines made environmentally, with soul, and that specific bottle lines countless windows of wine bars whose owners and sommeliers wholeheartedly support said movement.
He comes from a long line of winemakers (15th generation), creating expressive wines in Bourgeuil from fifteen biodynamic hectares. Wines, like farming, are chemical-free – indigenous yeasts, whole cluster, low / no sulphur. He has arguably been one of the driving forces behind the Loire’s surge in organic and biodynamic growers.
So how is it that he is being forced to pour away 2,078 bottles of his lovingly tended Coëf cuvée?
Via this article on Change, I’ve been alerted to the following and am paraphrasing below:
Difficulties and disagreements between growers and the INAO and various regional tasting/testing bodies have long been documented (Alexandre Bain and Jules Desjourneys’ infamous Interdit cuvée ring a bell, anyone?), however rarely do cases go as far as to demand the expulsion of certain wines from even vin de France.
In this case, from what I can gather, French administrators recorded levels of volatile acidity in the Coëf cuvée that were higher than permitted. However, organoleptically a technician stated it was acceptable, and Sébastien proceeded to carry out his own two counter-analyses, which came back at acceptable levels.
According to the Change petition, the measuring instrument used by the BIEV was sold to them by the laboratory where Sébastien carried out the counter-analyses. The technicians of the latter laboratory stated, "it was not the first time that an employee of the BIEV did not use the device correctly…”
I’m grimacing. Are you?
Despite the results of the two counter-analysis, the administration sealed his batch of 2,078 bottles and the prefect of Indre and Loire, Corinne Orzechowski (pref-secretariat-prefet @ indre-et-loire.gouv.fr) asked via a decree, to destroy his batch of 2,078 bottles within a month.
Sébastien has raised an urgent court case, of which the hearing will take place next Friday, May 10th at 11am at the Administrative Court of Orléans.
It goes without saying the financial issues this would cause a small grower. To work biodynamically is expensive (not to mention the Italian amphorae that house this wine), and this is Sébastien’s livelihood at risk.
How is it that chemically farmed wines from vineyards that are near herbicided-to-death pass, and one wine that sits on the fence of volatility is potentially to be poured away, despite the fact that its vineyard is home to happy, healthy, fifty-year-old biodynamic Cabernet Franc vines?
PLEASE sign the petition, and come party with me when Coëf 2016 is released.