What does "brut" mean in terms of Champagne?

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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

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