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Preparing for Wine Blogging Wednesday – Part IV

21-Nov-2006
 
 
 
Today’s installment is going to be short and sweet – or dry – depending on what you choose! 
 
Producers can regulate the sweetness of sparkling wines by controlling fermentation. For example, stopping fermentation early leaves some natural grape sugar in the finished wine. It can also be controlled by the sweetness of the shipping (final) dosage. One of the things that I have seen cause the most confusion for people when trying to select a sparkling wine is choosing the appropriate level of sweetness.  With sparkling wines running the gamut from so-dry-the-moisture-is-sucked from-your-mouth to so-sweet-its-a-dessert-on-its-own it’s important to be able to decipher the categories listed on the label.  And the names are not necessarily intuitive.  Here then is the list of designations, listed from driest to sweetest.  The percentages indicate the amount of residual sugar in the wine:   
  • Extra Brut, (also called Brut Nature or Brut Integral), sometimes there is no residual sugar at all in this level
  • Brut: dry, less than 1.5% sugar
  • Extra Sec (also called Extra Dry): extra dry, 1.2 to 2% sugar
  • Sec: medium sweet, 1.7 to 3.5% sugar
  • Demi-Sec: sweet, 3.3 to 5% sugar (dessert champagne)
  • Doux: very sweet, over 5% sugar (dessert champagne)  

The top half of the list contains champagnes that are best as aperitifs, served with meals or at cocktail type parties.  They will also pair well with sweets – these wines go with just about anything. The bottom half of the list is best with sweet desserts or even on it’s own as a sweet dessert.  Of course, as with all wines, the final decision should be based on your personal preference. 

Hopefully this handy list will help you select a sparkling wine that meets your needs. 

Preparing for Wine Blogging Wednesday – Part I 

Preparing for Wine Blogging Wednesday – Part II

Preparing for Wine Blogging Wednesday – Part III

Preparing for Wine Blogging Wednesday – Part V

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