Champagne Louis Roederer has replied to accusations that one of its executives made racist comments last week.

Hip-hop star Jay-Z last week called for a boycott of the French wine company, after company president Frederic Rouzaud was quoted in The Economist magazine as observing the firm's association with the rap world with "curiosity and serenity".

The company's Cristal Champagne has often been name-checked by hip-hop artists who have championed the brand in the past. Rouzaud labelled the name-checks as "unwelcome attention," Jay-Z claimed. "I view his comments as racist and will no longer support any of his products through any of my various brands," he said last week.

"A quick-spreading rumour falsely attributes me with the reference "unwelcome attention"," Rouzaud countered yesterday (20 June). "I did not use this phrase and I did not imply such sentiment.

"The House of Louis Roederer could not have been in existence since 1776 without having the utmost regard for, and interest in, all forms of art and culture; this encompasses the most contemporary of fashions and music, which allows us to keep in step with the modern age," he added. "Cristal, like other great fashion names, has earned greater renown by being adopted by some of today's most recognised artists, entrepreneurs and opinion leaders.

"Our goal is that Cristal be most appreciated for what it is: a wine which is always produced without compromise in limited quantities and to which the greatest care is applied to safeguard its quality. Our constant efforts are to ensure that those who love Cristal can appreciate it for the wine that it is.

"I welcome this opportunity to set the record straight and express our gratitude that people from a diversity of cultures and countries have been enjoying our wine for so long and have allowed us to prosper since 1776," Rouzaud concluded.