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 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.


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 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!

Editors' Recommendations

Emily Caldwell
Emily is a full time freelance writer with a special focus on health, fitness, lifestyle, food, and nutrition topics. She…
The best sipping whiskeys, ranked
We ranked the best sipping whiskeys

It might seem like an oversimplification, but two kinds of whiskey exist. First are the whisk(e)ys that are cheaper, less mature, and better suited for mixing into your favorite cocktails than drinking on their own. The second kind of whiskey is so complex, nuanced, long-matured, and flavorful that it deserves to be sipped on the rocks or with a splash or two of water. The latter is what we’re most concerned with today.

But that’s not all. For those unaware, whiskey is an all-encompassing term for a variety of whisk(e)ys, including single malt Scotch whisky (only the US and Ireland use the ‘e’ in whiskey), bourbon whiskey, Irish whiskey, rye whiskey, Canadian whisky, Japanese whiskey, and others from all over the world. This means that you have a lot to choose from when it comes to sipping whiskeys.

Read more
This is how to make a Bloody Bull – a better, beefier Bloody Mary recipe
Here's a different version of a Bloody Mary
Brennan's Bloody Bull.

Born in the great city of New Orleans, the Bloody Bull is the beefier cousin of the Bloody Mary. Treated to some meaty broth, the drink is super savory and begging to accompany your brunch plans.

The original hails from Brennan's, a colorful creole restaurant that's been on the scene since 1946. There are riffs of course, with bartenders treating the drink to everything from a bit of Guinness to a host of different spice blends.

Read more
Flying with alcohol: How to pack beer and wine in your luggage
Can you fly with alcohol? Learn how with this packing guide
Packing a suitcase.

If you're a craft beer aficionado or ardent wine lover, chances are that, at some point, you'll find yourself in a predicament when packing for a flight. You've gone a little overboard at the breweries and wineries and couldn't resist splurging on several of those delicious bottles. Don't worry; we've all been there. From a souvenir perspective, locally produced beer and wine make for refreshing mementos from any journey, as well as great gifts to bring back from your travels. Here's the big question though. Can you bring alcohol on a plane?

The short answer is yes. Like with anything else in life, there are rules and it's important to know them before you head to the airport including how much and what you can bring. It's also essential to know how to pack the alcohol for the flight. There’s nothing worse than a bottle of red wine breaking in your suitcase and staining everything or a broken beer bottle making your luggage smell like yeast right before a long-haul flight. With a few smart packing decisions, your beer or wine will be safely waiting for you at the baggage carousel, wherever your final destination may be.

Read more