How can you tell a Champagne's sweetness?

July 30, 2018

How can you tell a Champagne's sweetness?

On most bottles of Champagne, you will find a word on the bottle that will indicate how much sugar is added at dosage. the most common Brut, which is dry and has no discernible sweetness.

There is an official scale that is uses to indicate the sweetness of Champagne.

Brut Nature—A champagne bottled without any dosage. Also called Non-Dosé or Brut Zéro.

Brut—The most common style of champagne, containing anywhere between 0-15 grams per liter of dosage. Note that wines of between 0-6 g./l. can also be called Extra Brut. Wines that contain no dosage at all are almost always called Brut Nature or Non-Dosé rather than simply Brut.

Extra Brut—An Extra Brut champagne must contain no more than six grams of sugar per liter. It can sometimes contain none at all, and in these cases some producers prefer to label their wines as Brut Nature or Non-Dosé. On the other hand, champagnes between 0-6 g./l. of dosage also qualify for the Brut designation, although most producers will label them as Extra Brut rather than Brut.

Sec—In French, this literally means dry, but in Champagne it refers to a champagne with a dosage level of between 17 and 35 grams of sugar per liter.

Demi-Sec—A relatively sweet style of champagne, containing a dosage of between 33 and 50 grams of sugar per liter. 

Doux—This is the sweetest of the official categories of champagne, used to refer to wines with a dosage of over 50 grams per liter. While this was the most common style of champagne in the 18th and 19th centuries, it is virtually nonexistent today, although a notable example in modern times is Doyard La Libertine Doux Champagne.