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5th August 2014

A blatant Rip-off, or the sincerest form of flattery?

Icy reaction

LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) the French luxury goods behemoth is not afraid to call in its lawyers over trademark infringements.

They have even gone so far as to claim ownership of a particular colour (Pantone 137c) which is the shade of yellow (apparently, although if it’s yellow then so are oranges) which adorns the labels of Champagne Veuve Clicquot. Woe-betide any wine producer – even if they have been doing so for ages – who employs a colour even vaguely (to me) similar to the egg-yolk nothing-like-an-orange yellow.

So, imagine my surprise when I saw in the supermarket yesterday the intriguing “Ice Edition” from JP Chenet.

Now, this elixir doesn’t even sport a neck wonkier than a pissed giraffe – a, or possibly the characteristic JP Chenet trait. Its price tag splatters you with rapt confidence that the contents will be nothing less than deliciousness beyond your wildest dreams (€5.50), but to me it bears more than a passing resemblance to a rather more different and exclusive wine. A couple of years ago, the good people at Moêt et Chandon, the ‘M’ in LVMH, had a captivating idea to revitalise the rather down-trodden and therefore opportunity-laden Demi-Sec Champagne market by creating Ice Impérial. It’s a bit sweeter – so dilute it with ice cubes – stays colder for longer – genius!

Some fancy packaging allowed Moët to attach a price tag that may have more reflected its target consumers (wealthy trendies in St Tropez and the like) than any innate added level of quality, or production costs, than good old ordinary Moët Demi-Sec (rechristened Nectar Impérial) may have had. Or not, as the case may be.


So it is surprising that Ice Edition has made it to the shelves of a major French Supermarket. Apart from anything else JP Chenet seemingly haven’t used the packaging as an excuse to jack-up the price of its – bargain I’m perfectly sure - Vin Mousseux.

At least they didn’t call it ‘orange’ though.


Rod. Doubtless LVMH's finest legal team will be sharpening their quills as I type. Chenet and Moët clearly have more in common than the two Cheval Blancs – the latest nonsense to come out of the LMVH stable! [Jim Budd, 5th August 2014]

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