According to the Los Angeles Times, France is “popping mad” at us! “The Champagne Bureau, a Washington lobby for the French Champagne industry, is frothing like a newly opened magnum of Chateau de Rothchild.”
This brouhaha (is that French?) started when someone noticed that the menu for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies would be serving “Korbel Natural, Special Inaugural Cuvée Champagne, California” for President Obama’s inauguration banquet.
If the word California had been placed in front of Champagne, instead of after, all would have been sort of OK. The French would prefer that the name “Champagne” was theirs, alone.
“Real Champagne, the bureau insists, can only come from the region of Champagne, France, and bubbly from anywhere else should only claim to be “sparkling wine,” no matter how good it tastes.”
Most other wine producing countries respect the Champagne region’s rights to the term. The US is a bit more lenient, allowing vintners to use “Champagne” as long as the grape origins are included on the label.
The ruffled feathers of the Champagne Bureau will be somewhat smoothed, soon, when the menu is reprinted.
Better that, I suppose, than that we celebrate the American presidential inauguration with French Champagne!