Skip to main content

Every type of champagne, explained

All the types of champagne, explained - finally

Champagne coups
Billy Huynh/Unsplash / Unsplash

Dating back to France in the 18th century, Champagne is a bubbly and delicious drink, which once was a drink of status and reputation. Named Champagne from the region of France where it originated, Champagne is now enjoyed by all as a celebratory, sparkling wine beverage. Although all Champagne may look the same to the eye — there’s quite a bit of diversity among champagne types. If you’ve ever stood in the champagne aisle puzzled, this guide is for you. Below, we’ll break down each of the most commonly found types of Champagne in wine and liquor stores to help you know what to buy.

Glasses of champagne on a tray
Alexander Naglestad/Unsplash / Unsplash

Sweetness levels of Champagne

The first and most important thing to understand when shopping for Champagne is that they are often categorized by their sweetness levels. Some sweeter types of Champagne contain added sugar, whereas drier varieties contain no added sugar. The sweetness level of every Champagne will also vary depending on the types of grapes that were used and the aging process. We’ve broken down the sub-categories of Champagne below based on their sweetness. It should also be noted that Champagne is not the same thing as prosecco, another popular type of sparkling wine. Prosseco comes from Italy, whereas Champagne is from France.

Hands toasting with Champagne
Xeniya Kovaleva / Pexels

Dry Champagne

The driest types of Champagne will be labeled “Brut”; however, there are several sub-categories of Champagne within the brut family. Brut champagne is dry and unrefined, which means it is made without added sugar. This is the most classic style of Champagne, which must contain less than 12 grams of sugar per liter to be classified as a Brut champagne.

Brut nature

Brut nature is the driest type of Champagne available, which contains less than 3 grams of sugar per liter. Thanks to its extra low sugar levels, it offers a very dry taste with pronounced bubbles and no notes of sweetness whatsoever. This type of Champagne is ideal for those on a low-sugar or ketogenic diet or simply people who enjoy dry wines. You might find Brut Nature champagne to be a bit harder to come by on store shelves than other types of Brut champagne.

Extra brut or brut

Extra brut or brut varieties of Champagne make up the variety of what you’ll find on the shelves of most stores. Extra Brut champagne contains less than 6 grams of sugar per liter, whereas standard Brut champagne contains 12 grams of sugar or less per liter. Brut champagne is still considered dry but contains a slight sweetness that pairs well with cheeses or seafood meals. This type of Champagne leans more acidic, which is part of why it’s the most popular type of Champagne.

champagne cocktail
Robert Krajewski / Pixabay

Slightly sweet and sweet champagnes

If you prefer a bit more sweetness in your alcoholic drinks, you’ll want to look for one of these types of sweeter champagnes, which range from least sweet to most sweet.

Extra sec

Extra sec champagne is an excellent option for a slightly sweet champagne without too much sweetness. To be classified as Extra sec, this champagne variety must contain between 12 to 17 grams of sugar per liter. Extra sec is a great all-occasion champagne, whether to be paired with a meal or to be used for New Year’s celebrations.

Sec

Sec is a semi-sweet variety of Champagne that contains slightly more sweetness than the Extra Sec variety, with a residual sugar level of 17 to 32 grams of sugar per liter. This type of Champagne has a noticeable sweetness, yet it is not overpowering. If you’re not a true champagne connoisseur, it’s also possible you won’t notice a huge difference between Extra sec or Sec varieties.

Demi-sec

A Demi-sec champagne is pretty sweet, containing about 32 to 50 grams of residual sugar per liter. Usually, this Champagne is considered too sweet to be paired with meals and is more often paired with desserts or sweets. If you prefer fruity or sweet aromas in Champagne, you’ll like this variety more than the drier varieties of Champagne.

Doux

Doux champagne is a true sweet variety that contains the most sugar of any champagne variety. With nearly 50 grams of sugar per liter, it’s quite sweet and is often used as a dessert wine. This type of Champagne is also hard to come by in most stores but can still be ordered online. Since most drier wines are more favored, this style of Champagne has declined in popularity.

Champagne poured into glasses.
Tristan Gassert / Unsplash

Shopping for Champagne

Understanding the different sweetness levels of Champagne can help you look past labeling jargon and pick the best Champagne for the occasion. For most daily uses, a Brut variety is often a great choice, but other sweeter wines are best for pairing with desserts. Cheers!

Emily Caldwell
Emily is a freelance writer with a special focus on health, fitness, lifestyle, food, and nutrition topics. She holds a B.S…
Is international bar acclaim worth it? Some of the world’s best bars weigh in
The pros and cons of bar fame
Mirate bar staff.

There was a time after Double Chicken Please opened its brick-and-mortar spot in the Lower East Side where you could get in pretty easily. Since, in the wake of numerous accolades, including being named the best bar in North America in 2023, the establishment is routinely swamped. A line stretches from the bouncer at the door along velvet rope several blocks long.

Was it worth it? Is the experience the same after the fame? That all depends on the bar and what the drinker is after. Acclaim like this can change the very nature of a place, turning it from neighborhood hot spot to internationally-coveted destination. Suddenly, it's not so much about taking in a deftly-made cocktail in a unique setting as, well, saying you've been there.

Read more
How to make a Bee’s Knees cocktail, a drink that fits its name perfectly
You can create a buzz with the honey-kissed cocktail
Bee's Knees with garnish

Like many cocktails of the Prohibition Era, the gin-based Bee's Knees cocktail was meant to hide something bad rather than showcase something good. Have you ever heard of bathtub gin? There was plenty of it going around in that age, and barkeeps needed a way to hide the questionable quality (and more importantly, the hideous odor) of the spirit.

Barkeeps wanted to keep their illicit enterprises going, after all. Thankfully, as spirits evolved -- and were regulated to prevent just anybody from making hooch in their bathtubs -- the cocktail got better and better. (As for who created the drink, however, the sole inventor seems to be lost to history.)

Read more
It’s time to learn about bourbon – here’s your guide
Put down the IPA and meet the actual coolest drink in town — bourbon
Bourbon in a glass

Hello, class, and welcome to Bourbon 101. Don't worry; we're not like those other schools where you aren't allowed to drink during class. We're cool. Now, get your notebooks and a glass of whiskey ready because it's time to dive into the history of this American spirit.

It would be hard to find something more American than bourbon, except for maybe a bald eagle draped in an American flag with a baseball and an apple pie clutched in its talons. In any case, the history of bourbon follows the highs and lows of our country, as a whole, with good times, great times, and really bad times. It was built with ingenuity in a time of great hardship and flourished despite the best efforts of outside forces.
What exactly is bourbon?

Read more