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‘Champagne sorbet’ dispute sees new court ruling

A German court has reportedly ruled in favour of Champagne producers in a long-running dispute over an ice cream flavour previously sold by Aldi in the country.

An ice cream flavour described as ‘Champagne sorbet’ and briefly sold by Aldi Süd in Germany several years ago could have been misleading for consumers, according to the Munich Higher Regional Court.

Even though Aldi no longer sells the product, German newspaper Die Welt said judges in Munich have published a new ruling.

Champagne enjoys protected name status under EU law, and the French region’s Comité Champagne has a track record of vigorously defending producers against possible infringements all around the world.

The long-running ‘Champagne sorbet’ case was heard by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in 2017.

According to ECJ documents, it concerns an ice cream briefly sold by Aldi at the end of 2012 and named ‘Champagner Sorbet’. It contained around 12% Champagne among its ingredients, the ECJ said.

While it left German courts to ultimately decide on the dispute, it noted that a key issue was whether the sorbet had ‘as one of its essential characteristics, a taste attributable primarily to the presence of [Champagne]’.

An Aldi Süd spokesperson told Decanter.com today (2 July) that the sorbet was ‘available as a promotional product in December 2012’. It hasn’t been sold since then.

‘Further statements are currently not possible, as the reasons for the [Munich court’s] decision are not yet available,’ said the spokesperson.

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