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 Filed as : Wine TipsEntertaining

Learn to Speak Champagne

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  • Publish Date: Apr 9, 2010

What catches your eye when you look at a Champagne label? If you just look at the brand name you’re missing out on a lot.

A brand name may be reassuring, but it doesn’t tell you anything about how sweet or dry the Champagne is.

When Champagne leaves the cellars after many years aging, it’s absolutely bone dry; too dry for most people’s liking. As a result, a small amount of liquid sugar is added before the bottle is sold. This process is called dosage in French. The more sugar added, the sweeter the Champagne. There are several possible categories of sweetness which must, by French law, be shown on the label.

These days, Brut is by far the most popular style worldwide. It’s neither too sweet, nor too dry so it’s hard to make a mistake. If you prefer a really dry style look for the words Ultra Brut or Extra Brut on the label. These will be crisp, minerally and fabulous as an aperitif.

If you like a rounded, more luscious taste, the sweeter Demi-sec may be for you. Superb with desserts, it’s never too cloying or sticky. Well worth trying.

Read more about how bubbly is made in the Winecyclopedia or explore this varied list of Champagnes to better familiarize yourself with the various options.

Have a favorite bottle of Champagne? Share it below!

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