Over the years since its accidental invention, champagne has become synonymous with toasts, celebrations, and special occasions.
What would a wedding reception or New Year’s Eve party be without that glass of bubbly? And although most people have some idea of the difference between champagne and sparkling wine, the same is not true for Brut champagne.
This article will clear up the definition of Brut champagne, what it means, and what it tastes like.
So, read on to learn more about the world’s favourite bubbly!
What Is Brut?
Brut champagne is the most popular type of champagne. Like all Champagne, it is made from grapes grown in the Champagne region of northeastern France.
Essentially, the word brut is a classification on the continuum of dryness/sweetness. Brut champagne is the driest form of champagne (i.e., the least sweet). In order to be classified as Brut, the champagne must have less than 12 grams of added sugar per liter.
What Does Brut Mean?
Brut simply means “dry, raw, or unrefined” in French. This makes sense, considering Brut is the driest of all champagnes. It can be confusing for non-French speakers, as Extra-Dry champagne is actually sweeter than Brut, containing 12-17 grams of added sugar per liter.
Along the continuum we have Dry, then Demi-Sec, and lastly Doux which is often served as a dessert wine. If you remember the meaning of Brut, it will be easier to remember that it is the driest of them all!
Is Brut A Sparkling Wine Or Champagne?
The distinction between sparkling wine and champagne tends to cause a lot of confusion, but it’s actually pretty simple. Essentially, a sparkling wine only gets the label “champagne” if it was produced in the champagne region of France, and meets a few other requirements.
So while all champagne is sparkling wine, not all sparkling wine is champagne. As we covered earlier, brut is a term that describes how sweet or dry a sparkling wine is. Therefore, it can be used to describe champagne, or sparkling wine produced elsewhere.
Where Is Brut Champagne From?
Based on the above, if the label is “Brut Champagne” then you can be confident it is from the region of Champagne in northeastern France. However, if the word “champagne” is not on the label, it is probably a brut sparkling wine produced elsewhere in the world.
And although many champagne purists refuse to drink sparkling wines other than true champagne, there are many countries that make high quality brut wine, such as the USA, Australia, South Africa, and several countries across Europe.
How Is Brut Champagne Made?
There are three ways of making champagne, which all vary in terms of time needed, quality, and cost.
- The traditional method takes the most time and requires the most manual labor. As such, brut sparkling wine made this way is the most expensive. After the base wine is made and bottled, it begins its second fermentation. During this time, the yeast in the wine dies, leaving a sediment in the neck of the bottle. The winemaker must turn the wine in the bottle by hand every day to gradually remove the sediment.
- The transfer method saves time by filtering the sediment through tanks rather than by hand. However, the second fermentation still occurs in the bottle.
- The tank method is the cheapest way to make sparkling wine. In this method, the wine goes through its second fermentation in stainless steel tanks, and is filtered through tanks as well.
Whichever method is used, the sugar dosage takes place last. For Brut wine, this means only up to 12 grams.
What Does Brut Champagne Taste Like?
Because of its low sugar content, brut sparkling wine is dry and highly acidic. However, it does have a slight hint of sweetness. It may have hints of floral, fruity, or almond notes, but these will be less perceptible in a Brut than they would be in a sweeter champagne.
Is Brut Dry Or Sweet?
Brut is the driest type of champagne, but it does have a hint of sweetness. Like all champagne, it is light-bodied and low in tannins. If you’d prefer a sweeter bubbly, try Extra-Dry or Dry. Brut wine tends to be well-balanced and silky, making it a great option for toasts and celebrations as not everyone likes a sweet wine.
How To Drink Brut Champagne
Although the champagne flute is the classic way to drink Brut champagne, most wine experts do not recommend it as it greatly restricts the aroma. A coupe glass is the widest, and therefore provides a great initial experience of the aroma. However, it allows both the bubbles and the aroma to dissipate far too quickly. If you want to experience the full nose and flavor, experts suggest using a tulip or a white wine glass for your Brut champagne.
What Food Does Brut Champagne Pair With?
Because Brut champagne is acidic and dry, it cuts across rich and fatty flavors, brightening food that can feel heavy. For example, it is delicious with buttery seafood dishes, (especially lobster), rich pastas and risottos, and cheesy dishes. It can also stand alone in a celebratory toast, or be mixed with other ingredients to make delicious sparkly cocktails.
Is Brut Champagne The Same As Prosecco?
Brut refers to the sweetness of the wine, whereas Prosecco refers to a region in Italy where the wine is produced. Like champagne, Prosecco can be dry or sweet. Therefore, it is possible to get Brut Prosecco, which will be similar in sweetness to Brut champagne. However, as brut is a French word, you may not see it on a bottle of Prosecco even if it contains less than 12 grams of sugar. In addition, Prosecco can taste sweeter due to its highly fruity flavours.
Is Brut a Good Champagne?
As Brut only refers to the sugar content of the wine, it is not a guarantee of quality. If a bottle of Brut champagne has been made using the tank method and has not been aged at all, its quality will be very different to one made traditionally and matured over many months.
Brut is the most popular type of champagne due to its balance of acidity and a touch of sweetness. It is therefore the best option for toasts and celebrations as long as you get a good one.
How To Pick A Good Brut
If you want to make sure to get a good quality Brut, look for the words “Brut Champagne” on the label. Of course, Brut sparkling wine from other countries can be just as good. However, the quality is not guaranteed as it is for champagne due to the strict regulations applied to this type of wine.
If you are still unsure what to buy, look for champagne made by houses such as Pommery, Laurent-Perrier, Veuve Clicquot, Perrier-Jouët, Moet & Chandon, or Dom Perignon. These labels are known for their quality and long history of making brut champagne.