Sparkling wines can vary in sweetness levels, and the amount of sugar in the wine is often specified on the label using different terms to indicate the sweetness level. Here are some common sugar definitions you may encounter on the labels of sparkling wines:
Brut Nature (or Brut Nature/Zero): This is the driest style of sparkling wine with little to no added sugar. The residual sugar content is extremely low, usually less than 3 grams per liter. The wine is very crisp and bone-dry, allowing the natural acidity and fruit flavors to shine through.
Extra Brut: Slightly sweeter than Brut Nature, Extra Brut wines have a minimal amount of residual sugar, usually between 0 and 6 grams per liter. These wines are still very dry and have a pronounced crispness.
Brut: The most common style of sparkling wine, Brut wines have a dry taste with a slightly higher level of residual sugar than Brut Nature and Extra Brut. They typically contain less than 12 grams per liter of sugar.
Extra Dry (Extra Sec): Contrary to what the name suggests, Extra Dry is actually slightly sweeter than Brut. These wines have a sugar content of around 12 to 17 grams per liter. They have a touch of sweetness that balances the acidity, making them quite approachable to many palates.
Dry (Sec): Despite the name, Dry sparkling wines are even sweeter than Extra Dry. They have a sugar content of around 17 to 32 grams per liter. These wines tend to have noticeable sweetness but are not overly sweet like dessert wines.
Demi-Sec: This style is noticeably sweet, with a sugar content ranging from 32 to 50 grams per liter. Demi-Sec sparkling wines are often enjoyed as dessert wines or paired with sweet dishes.
Doux: The sweetest style of sparkling wine, Doux wines have a high sugar content of 50 grams per liter or more. These wines are typically reserved for dessert or as a sweet aperitif.
It's important to check the label or product description to understand the sweetness level of the specific sparkling wine you are considering, as the terminology used may vary slightly from one producer to another. The sugar level greatly influences the taste profile of the sparkling wine, so choosing one that aligns with your preferences can enhance your enjoyment of the wine.