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Champagne houses complain to Bordeaux mayor over ‘cremant’ claims

Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppe may have dented his chances of earning French presidential campaign votes in the Champagne region after reportedly promising to serve more local sparkling wine at official functions.

Juppe (pictured, centre), who is tipped to be in the running at France’s next presidential election in 2017, has annoyed several Champagne houses following claims that he promised to replace at least some of France’s premier sparkling wine with Bordeaux cremant.

The news emerged following the ‘Eat Brussels Drink Bordeaux’ event in Belgium, when Juppe visited a stand of cremant producers and was asked by Herve Grandeau, president of the Maison Bordeaux, whether he would replace Champagnes in the Palais Rohan Bordeaux city hall cellars with local sparkling wines.

‘Mr Juppe conferred with his colleagues and agreed that it was something they should be thinking about,’ Grandeau told Decanter.com. ‘He then came back to us and promised to do so.’

Champagne makers have written to Juppe in protest. In the December issue of Terre des Vins magazine, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger is recorded as saying, ‘Does Mr Juppe wish that we, in our Champagne houses, stop serving the Bordeaux wines that we love so much? If he wants to be president of the Republic, he should think of the national interests, not the local ones.’

A spokesperson at Bordeaux city hall told Decanter.com that the comment had been blown out of proportion. ‘We have always served cremant at our receptions, and will continue to serve Champagne on certain occasions.’

Juppe is believed to have reassured Champagne houses that they still have a place in city hall cellars.

Grandeau said Juppe never promised exclusivity for cremant at official functions.

‘This is nothing against Champagne; but if we can see Bordeaux cremant served at the majority of official functions, that is already a huge boost for us. Juppe is a man who stands by his word, so we are very pleased with the potential of 2015.’

Local sources said Bordeaux city hall buys 2,000 bottles of cremant annually. Annual production is 3m bottles, according to the Bordeaux wine bureau (CIVB).

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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