Champagne Sweetness Scale: From Brut to Doux

May 27, 2013 Blog » Learn About Wine » Champagne Sweetness Scale: From Brut to Doux

Brut Champagne Sweetness Levels
In an attempt to show what sweetness in sparkling wine really is, we filled each glass with the actual amount of granulated sugar (in grams).

Brut Nature
(a.k.a. Brut Zero) 0–2 calories
0-3 g/l Residual Sugar (RS) is equivalent to < 1/6 teaspoon sugar per 5 oz. serving
Extra Brut
0–5 calories
0-6 g/l RS is equivalent to < ¼ teaspoon sugar per 5 oz. serving
0–7 calories
0-12 g/l RS is equivalent to < ½ teaspoon sugar per 5 oz. serving
Extra Dry
7–10 calories
12-17 g/l RS is equivalent to ½–¾ teaspoon sugar per 5 oz. serving
10–20 calories
17-32 g/l RS is equivalent to ¾-1 teaspoon sugar per 5 oz. serving
20-30 calories
32-50 g/l RS is equivalent to 1–2 teaspoons sugar per 5 oz. serving
over 30 calories
50+ g/l RS is equivalent to over 2 teaspoons sugar per 5 oz. serving

Brut has a lot of wiggle room in sweetness, whereas Extra Brut and Brut Nature are very focused in their sugar content. This can be helpful in knowing what style you prefer.

Champagne Sweetness: Brut Nature to Doux

Brut Champagne is a level of sweetness in sparkling wine. The sweetness comes from a step in the Champagne making process called “dosage” (“doe-sazj”) which is when a small amount of sugar or grape must is added back into the wine before corking the wine. Because sparkling wine is traditionally very acidic, the purpose of this sweetness is to reduce the intensity of tartness. You can think of it like adding a little sugar to coffee to “round out” the flavor.

Over time, sparkling wine producers realized that people’s sweetness preference varied and this is why there are several option to choose from. from Brut Nature has no added sugar and Doux has 50 or more g/l or residual sugar –50 g/l RS is equivalent to just over 2 teaspoons of sugar per glass.


Calories in Champagne?
Learn more about the calories in wine with this fascinating wine nutrition facts infographic


brut champagne sweetness level compared to other drinks

comparison graph

How much sugar is in Champagne compared to other drinks?

One of the most fascinating things about wine is how little sugar it takes to make wine taste sweet. If you look at how many grams of sugar are actually in a 6 oz serving (177 ml) glass of sparkling wine, it’s actually quite low compared to other beverages. Even the most cloyingly sweet Demi Sec style.

Sugar (grams) in Tasty Drinks
Vodka Soda
Brut Nature Sparkling Wine
Brut Sparkling Wine
Demi Sec Sparkling Wine
Gin & Tonic
Honest Tea Green Tea
Starbucks 2% Milk Grande Latte
Margarita on the rocks (made w/ simple syrup)
Jack & Coke


So… why does Champagne give me a headache?

If you’ve been blaming sugar as the culprit for why you keep getting Champagne headaches… well, this might not be the case. As a regular wine drinker (I usually consume at least a bottle a week of bubbles) I used to get Champagne headaches really bad. Here’s what was happening to me, which might also be happening to you:
You Don’t Feel Thirsty Bubbles quench your thirst so you don’t drink as much water.
You Drink More It’s easy to drink a whole bottle of Champagne because of its quaffable style. Whereas, a bottle of rich dark red wine is a little more of a slow arduous process.
You Drink Late Sparkling wine goes along with late night entertainment such as New Year’s parties, clubbing and other debaucherous activities. Plus, that hot tub you’re in will also dehydrate you (you sweat in hot water–you just can’t tell).

nobody likes wine headaches

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By Madeline Puckette
I'm a certified sommelier and creator of the NYT Bestseller, Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine. Find me out there in the wine world @WineFolly