What is Brut Champagne? A Guide to the Dry, Crisp and Elegant French Sparkling Wine

Champagne is certainly a beverage you’ve heard of if you enjoy frothy beverages. However, have you ever thought about what sets Brut Champagne apart from other varieties of sparkling wines?

a close up of a bottle of champagne in bucket with ice and glasses

Simply put, Brut Champagne has the least amount of added sugar per liter and is the driest type of Champagne. This dryness provides it a crisp, energizing flavor that makes it ideal for special occasions or just unwinding with a glass of wine at the end of the day.

A special procedure that includes a second fermentation in the bottle is used to create brut champagne. Yeast and sugar are added to the wine during this procedure, which produces carbon dioxide and gives the wine its distinctive fizz.

The degree of dryness in the finished product depends on how much sugar is added throughout this process. Champagnes such as Brut and Extra Brut often have sugar content per liters of less than 12 grams and 6 grams, respectively.

Because of this, Brut Champagne is the ideal option for consumers who like a drier, less sweet flavor.

What is Brut Champagne?

If you’re a fan of sparkling wine, you’ve probably heard of Brut Champagne. But what exactly is it, and how does it differ from other types of Champagne? In this section, we’ll explore the definition and history of Brut Champagne.


Brut Champagne is a type of sparkling wine that is characterized by its dryness. In fact, it is the driest classification of Champagne, meaning it has the least amount of added sugar. To be considered Brut, a Champagne must have less than 12 grams of added sugar per liter.

pouring champagne at a terrace with a beautiful background

The term “brut” comes from the French word for “dry, raw, or unrefined.” Despite its name, however, Brut Champagne is not completely devoid of sweetness. There is still a small amount of natural sugar remaining in the wine, which gives it a balanced taste.


The history of Brut Champagne dates back to the early 19th century. At that time, Champagne was typically much sweeter than it is today, with the most popular styles being Doux and Sec.

However, a growing number of consumers began to prefer drier wines, and Champagne producers responded by creating new styles with less added sugar.

The first dry style of Champagne was called “Extra Dry,” which had a sugar content of around 12 to 20 grams per liter. However, this style was still too sweet for some consumers, and in the early 20th century, the Brut style was introduced.

This new style had a sugar content of less than 12 grams per liter, and it quickly became the most popular style of Champagne.

Today, Brut Champagne is still the most common style of sparkling wine, both in France and around the world. It is known for its balanced taste, with a crisp acidity and notes of fruit and minerality.

Types of Brut Champagne

When it comes to Champagne, there are a variety of styles to choose from, ranging from very dry to very sweet. Brut Champagne is one of the most popular styles and is enjoyed by many around the world. Here are the different types of Brut Champagne:

Extra Brut

Extra Brut Champagne is the driest of all Champagne styles. It contains less than 6 grams of sugar per liter, which means it has a very low sweetness level. This type of Champagne is perfect for those who prefer a crisp, refreshing taste without any sweetness.


Brut Champagne is the most common style of Champagne. It contains less than 12 grams of sugar per liter, which means it is still quite dry but has a slightly sweeter taste than Extra Brut. This type of Champagne is versatile and can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a variety of foods.

brut and extra dry champagne at a store shelf

Extra Dry

Despite its name, Extra Dry Champagne is actually sweeter than Brut Champagne. It contains between 12 and 17 grams of sugar per liter, which means it has a slightly sweet taste. This type of Champagne is a good choice for those who prefer a slightly sweeter taste but still want a dry finish.


Dry Champagne, also known as Sec Champagne, is slightly sweeter than Extra Dry Champagne. It contains between 17 and 32 grams of sugar per liter, which means it has a noticeable sweetness.

This type of Champagne is a good choice for those who prefer a sweeter taste but still want some dryness.

When choosing a type of Brut Champagne, it’s important to consider your personal taste preferences and the occasion. Extra Brut Champagne is perfect for those who prefer a very dry taste, while Brut Champagne is a safe choice for most occasions.

Extra Dry and Dry Champagnes are good options for those who prefer a slightly sweeter taste. No matter which type you choose, make sure to enjoy it responsibly and savor every sip.

How is Brut Champagne Made?

If you are wondering how Brut Champagne is made, you have come to the right place. In this section, we will provide you with a brief overview of the process that goes into making this sparkling wine.

Champagne Region

First things first, Champagne can only be produced in the Champagne region of France. The region is located in the northeast of France and is divided into five wine-producing districts: Aube, Côte des Blancs, Côte de Sézanne, Montagne de Reims, and Vallée de la Marne.

The region’s unique soil and climate conditions are what give Champagne its distinctive taste and character.

a beautiful view of the champagne region

Secondary Fermentation

The production of Brut Champagne involves a process called secondary fermentation. This process is what gives the wine its signature bubbles. First, a still (non-sparkling) wine is made using standard fermentation and vinification methods.

Then, the wine is bottled with a mixture of yeast and sugar, which triggers a second fermentation process. The carbon dioxide produced during this process is trapped in the bottle, which creates the bubbles.


One of the defining characteristics of Brut Champagne is its low sugar content. The amount of sugar in the wine after secondary fermentation is called the dosage. Brut Champagne has a dosage of less than 12 grams of sugar per liter. This results in a dry, crisp taste that is characteristic of Brut Champagne.

Transfer Method

There are several methods of producing Champagne, but the traditional method is the most common. Another method is the transfer method. In this method, the wine undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle, just like in the traditional method.

However, after the fermentation is complete, the wine is transferred to a tank to remove the sediment. This method is less labor-intensive than the traditional method, but it can result in a slightly different taste and texture.

Tasting Brut Champagne

When it comes to tasting Brut Champagne, you can expect a unique and delightful experience. This sparkling wine is known for its light-bodied quality, highly acidic taste, and buttery seafood and almond notes. Here are some things to look out for when tasting Brut Champagne:

Flavor Profile

Brut Champagne has a dry flavor profile, which means it has a low sugar content. Despite this, it is still quite flavorful. You can expect to taste a balance of crisp fruit, buttery notes, and minerality. The wine’s effervescence also adds a refreshing quality to its flavor profile.


The aroma of Brut Champagne is often described as yeasty or toasty, with hints of almonds and citrus. The wine’s bubbles can also release aromas of fresh fruit and flowers, making it a sensory experience for your nose as well as your palate.

Hand pouring champagne from bottle into glasses with friends around him


Brut Champagne is known for its high acidity, which gives it a crisp and refreshing taste. This acidity also makes it an excellent pairing for a variety of foods, from seafood to cheese to light desserts.


As mentioned earlier, Brut Champagne is a dry wine, meaning it has a low sugar content. This dryness can be a bit of an acquired taste for some, but it is what gives the wine its unique character and versatility in food pairings.

Overall, tasting Brut Champagne is a delightful experience that engages all your senses. Its unique flavor profile, aroma, acidity, and dryness make it a versatile wine that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a variety of foods.

Serving Brut Champagne

When it comes to serving Brut Champagne, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that you get the most out of this delicious sparkling wine. Here are some tips for serving Brut Champagne:


The ideal temperature to serve Brut Champagne is between 45°F and 50°F (7°C to 10°C). This is slightly cooler than the temperature at which you would serve most white wines. To achieve this temperature, you can chill the bottle in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving, or you can place it in an ice bucket for about 20 minutes.


The best glassware for serving Brut Champagne is a tall, narrow flute. This type of glass helps to preserve the bubbles and allows you to fully appreciate the wine’s aroma and flavor. Avoid using a wide, shallow glass, as this will cause the bubbles to dissipate quickly.

Food Pairings

Brut Champagne is a versatile wine that pairs well with a variety of foods. Seafood dishes such as oysters and lobster are a classic pairing, as are cheesy dishes like pasta and risotto. Brut Champagne also pairs well with desserts that are not too sweet, such as fruit tarts and light cakes.

friends having dinner with pasta and brut champagne

When selecting food to pair with Brut Champagne, keep in mind that the wine is dry, so it pairs best with foods that are not too sweet.

If you are serving Brut Champagne as part of a celebration or toast, consider serving it with light appetizers such as cheese and crackers, or with cocktails that complement the wine’s flavor.

Sugar Content

Brut Champagne is a dry wine, with a sugar content of less than 12 grams per liter. This makes it drier than Extra-Dry Champagne, which has a sugar content of 12 to 17 grams per liter.

Non-vintage Champagnes are typically Brut, while vintage Champagnes may be either Brut or Extra-Dry.

Other Sparkling Wines

While Brut Champagne is the most well-known type of sparkling wine, there are other types of sparkling wine that are similar in taste and style. Prosecco, Cava, and sparkling wines from South Africa and Australia are all good alternatives to Brut Champagne.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Paul Kushner

I have always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. My restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time I turned 17 I was serving tables, and by 19 I was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, I opened my first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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