ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

I just came across a bottle of Champagne that says "Brut Sauvage." I am well aware of the scale from brut to sweet, but what does "Sauvage" refer to?

—Chiara, Italy

Dear Chiara,

Sweetness categories in bubbly are so cryptic! To be clear, the order from sweetest to driest is Doux, Demi-Sec, Sec, Extra Dry and Brut. Just past Brut is an even drier style that can be called Extra Brut, Brut Nature or Brut Sauvage. So, a Brut Sauvage is one step drier than a Brut.

By the way, the word "sauvage" means "wild" or "natural" in French, and sometimes this word on a wine's label indicates that it went through fermentation with indigenous yeasts.

—Dr. Vinny


Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

MEMBER LOGIN

= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Free Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences

Classifieds

The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories