French wine producers mad about inauguration 'champagne'

French wine makers are not saying "cheers" over the President's inauguration menu Monday. (Stock photo)

What’s in a name? Bubbly by any other name would still be champagne, right? Not so fast. Champagne producers in France are in a tizzy because a sparkling California beverage on the menu for Pres. Obama’s inauguration luncheon Monday is being billed as champagne.

Mon dieu!

"Champagne only comes from Champagne," Sam Heitner, the director of the U.S. Champagne Bureau, told Agence France Presse.

Champagne, you see,  is a region in France. So, if a "champagne" is made in California, it's not real technically champagne. So, dude has a point.  In 2006, the United States signed a deal with the European Union banning U.S. producers from using the term champagne. However, the law wasn’t retroactive, which is why producers such as Korbel can still get away with using the French term.

"The Champagne Lobby should have a glass of their own product and relax," said Matt House, spokesman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. "

"We are proud to be serving American champagne at the inauguration, and its location of origin will be appropriately displayed on the label, and the menu in accordance with the law, and international treaties," he told the French news agency. 

"The menu will say 'California Champagne," House said.

Whew. International crisis averted. Now, where do you by this stuff? I could use a bottle after wading through that.

By the way, have you checked out the rest of the menu for this invite-only, post-swearing in meal? Lobster with New England clam chowder sauce and grilled bison with red potato horseradish cake and wild huckleberry reduction. Dessert is apple pie with sour cream ice cream, cheese and honey. Can you say, yum?

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