Labels and bottles
Understanding the labels on sparkling wines and Champagnes
Find the sparkling wine that suits you
The label on a sparkling wine’s bottle is a kind of calling card. It adds an aesthetic touch to the final product, but also provides a range of useful information for novices and connoisseurs alike.
Besides the identity of its producer, its alcohol by volume percentage and its geographic origin, the label on a Champagne or sparkling wine will enable you to determine the vintage, if any, and the quantity of sugar, or dosage, contained in the bottle. Here’s how to interpret these two essential factors when selecting a product.
Vintage or not vintage
Vintage Champagnes are the result of a single year’s harvest. They age a minimum of three years.
Non-vintage Champagnes are the result of a blend of different wines, some from previous years. The goal here is to offer a homogeneous and consistent product that reflects the style and image of the house. These wines age for a minimum of 15 months.
Certain houses blend wines of great vintage years to produce one specific vintage. No vintage will appear on the label.
The term blanc de blancs designates a sparkling wine or Champagne made solely from white grapes; when they’re made from black grapes, the term used is blanc de noirs.
Quantity of sugar per litre*
|Brut nature||Less than 3 grams
||Alone as an aperitif, or served with smoked salmon, goat cheese, shellfish, rabbit rillette or oysters. The more flavourful and full-bodied vintage sparkling wines go well with crab, lobster, poultry in sauce, and foie gras.|
|Extra Brut||Between 0 and 6 grams|
|Brut||Less than 12 grams|
|Extra dry||Between 12 and 17 grams|
|Dry||Between 17 and 32 gram|
|Demi-sec||Between 32 and 50 grams
||Demi-secs are good with biscotti, a sabayon or dried-fruit desserts. Sweet sparkling wines complement fruit salads, crème brûlée and vanilla-flavoured desserts.|
|Swee||Over 50 grams|
|*Table for European Champagnes and sparkling wines|
Name and capacity of bottles
Demi (375 ml) :
True to its name, the demi is equivalent to half the capacity of a bottle
Bottle(750 ml) :
Magnum (1,5 litre) :
Equivalent to two bottles. Neuter form of the Latin adjective magnus, meaning large
Jeroboam (3 litres) :
Equivalent to four bottles. The name comes from the Jeroboam, king of Israel
Methuselah (6 litres) :
Equivalent to eight bottles. The name comes from Methuselah, the oldest person in the Old Testament.
Nebuchadnezzar (16 litres) :
Equivalent to 20 bottles. Name of a Babylonian dynasty founded by Nebuchadnezzar I.