What’s the Difference Between Brut and Sec Champagne?

Before you peruse Ideal Wine Company’s Champagnes, it’s worth finding out more information about this fabulous French sparkling wine. To ensure you can find a great bottle, Ideal Wine Company distinguishes the difference between Brut and Sec Champagne.

Sweetness levels

If you want to become a true connoisseur of this king of French sparkling wines, we advise you to learn how to read a Champagne label. A Champagne’s label provides you with a wealth of information, which you can use to learn more about the vintage. For instance, it will feature a two letter code showing you which type of Champagne producer made the vintage.

You use also use a Champagne label to tell you how sweet the vintage is, or how much ‘residual sugar’ it contains. The sweetness content in a Champagne works on a scale, ranging from 0 – 3 grams of sugar per litre (g/l) at the extremely dry end, to 50+ g/l at the extraordinarily sweet end of the scale.

The industry uses a set of terms to denote the sweetness of Champagne, ranging from Brut to Sec to Doux.

What does Brut mean?

In this context, ‘Brut’ refers to dry Champagnes, as in those which don’t possess high levels of residual sugar and don’t taste that sweet. There are three types of Brut Champagne, with sweetness levels ranging from 0 g/l at the driest end of the spectrum to 12 g/l at the sweeter side of things.

First we have ‘Brut Nature,’ which has between 0 and 3 g/l of residual sugar. The driest of all Champagnes, a Brut Nature is often marketed as ‘diet Champagne,’ due to its low sugar content.

Then we have ‘Extra Brut’ and ‘Brut,’ which contain 0-6 g/l and 0-12 g/l of residual sugar respectively, indicating that that they are sweeter than Brut Natures. If you want to see why Brut Champagne has become so popular with consumers, purchase the Dom Perignon Brut 1993 from Ideal Wine Company!

What is a Sec Champagne?

On the other end of the scale, we have ‘Sec’ Champagnes. Confusingly the word ‘Sec’ is French for ‘dry,’ but it is used to refer to Champagnes which are noticeably sweet. There are three types of Sec Champagne you need to know about – ‘extra Sec,’ ‘Sec’ and ‘demi-sec.’

Containing 12-17 g/l, extra Sec is the driest of Champagnes in the Sec category. Moving on, Sec contains 17-32 g/l and demi-sec possesses 32 – 50 g/l., suggesting that these vintages are far sweeter than extra Secs and all Bruts.

At the extreme end of the scale we have Doux Champagnes. Containing over 50 g/l of residual sugar, these are sweetest types of Champagne that you can possibly buy.