What does "brut" mean in terms of Champagne?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

What does “brut” mean in terms of Champagne?

—Deborah H., Chicago

Dear Deborah,

“Brut” is one of my favorite words when it comes to sparkling wine, as it refers to the driest of bubblies, and my mouth is watering just thinking of it. After brut, in ascending order of sweetness, are extra dry (or extra sec), sec, demi-sec and doux.

Brut is sometimes broken down further into “extra brut” and “brut natural,” in which case “natural” is the driest of the dry, indicating that no sugar at all has been added, referring to dosage, or the addition of sweetened wine or spirit after the sediment is disgorged.

—Dr. Vinny

How to Taste Tasting Descriptors Winemaking Techniques Explained Sparkling Wines France Champagne Ask Dr. Vinny

More In Dr. Vinny

Do Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from Burgundy improve with age?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny consults Burgundy expert Bruce Sanderson on how long to …

Apr 6, 2020

If red meat goes with red wine, what about plant-based “meat”?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny asks food-and-wine pairing master Harvey Steiman for tips …

Apr 3, 2020

Is it OK to store potatoes and other vegetables in my wine cellar?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny consults Idaho's Dr. Potato on storing potatoes in a wine …

Apr 1, 2020

Which grapes are used in the sparkling wine Blanquette de Limoux?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny, with an assist from associate editor Gillian Sciaretta, …

Mar 30, 2020

Should I sip wine with food in my mouth to appreciate a wine-and-food pairing?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains that enjoying wine and food together is all …

Mar 27, 2020

In wine and grapevines, what’s the difference between a “clone” and a “selection”?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny calls in vine expert Carole Meredith to explain how a …

Mar 25, 2020