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Letter to the european commission
..textes : Hervé Garnier


Association Mémoire de la Vigne
07110 Beaumont
Beaumont, le 25 août 2003


Madame, Sir,

The reasons for which a repeal of the ban placed on Jacquet, Herbemont, Isabelle and Othello are being requested, and a request that measures to preserve the last of the hundred year-old vines of the Cévennes region be taken immediately.

  • Because the origin of this ban is political and economic, not scientific; this is to say that the lack of scientific rationale is easily exposed.
  • Because today the ban on these vine varieties exists in fact as a result of new European wine industry standards, which call for freedom of both research and production of new vine varieties. This means that close relatives (as in vines with the exact same genetic constituents) of the banned varieties can gain legal authorization.

For example: Baco 22 A is authorized while Othello is prohibited. Both are hybrids of vitis labrusca, vitis raparia and vitis vinifera.

  • Because it has been shown that these wines, when properly distilled, are no more or less harmful than any other. Certain, rich in polyphenol antioxidants (and thus resveratrol, the virtues of which are well-known) may even be beneficial for the health when consumed with moderation.
  • Because the accusation of the “unpleasant” taste associated with these varieties is highly debatable and unrealistic. What is one to think of those who actually like it? Enjoying a bouquet of blackcurrant, raspberry or field strawberry should not be against the law!

Stéphane Debaille, named best sommelier in France (1992) to whom we brought an unlabeled sample of 1997 Vins d'Antan (Jacquet and Herbemont) gave the following praise:“A rich garnet color with deep purple highlights…The nose is straightforward, pleasant and well-developed with hints of blackberry and blackcurrant preserves…Hints of mild spice…A richly subtle and complex bouquet…Full-bodied, intense, round flavors finish on smoothed-out tannins…The appropriateness of the acids, alcohol and tannins is perfectly harmonious and offers a balance of exceptional quality…Easily accompanies any refined, flavorful cuisine.”

  • Because today the tending and upkeep of these vines is of great importance to the preservation of the extraordinary heritage of the Cévennes region, classified as a “living cultural landscape” by UNESCO.
  • Because the tending and upkeep of these terraced hillsides contributes in an important way to the fight against wildfires.