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Champagne faux pas at Obama inaugural luncheon?

Published on Jan 10, 2013 7:23 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Would champagne by any other name taste as good? For French producers, the answer is a resounding "non" - especially when the beverage is to be served at the United States (US) presidential inaugural luncheon.

Champagne producers in France, who are very protective of the singular nature of their product, were not necessarily upset that California-made bubbly is to be served at lunch after President Barack Obama's Jan 21 swearing-in.

But the official menu from organisers - which includes steamed lobster, hickory grilled bison, apple pie and "Korbel Natural, Special Inaugural Cuvee Champagne, California" - released on Wednesday definitely raised hackles.

"Champagne only comes from Champagne," Mr Sam Heitner, the director of the US Champagne Bureau, told AFP, referring to the French region outside Paris where the festive fizzy beverage is produced.

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