What is Brut Sparkling Wine? Wine Guide 2020

When you browse on the wine labels of sparkling wines, you often notice the word “brut” in it. You sometimes refer it to a specific type of wine or grape variety, but brut has something to mean entirely. But, what is brut sparkling wine really means?

As we go along, we further explain the things that you must have to know about brut. From its literal meaning to the way that it tastes, its serving temperature, and perfect food pairings, we all have it here. If you’re interested, check them out below!

What is Brut Sparkling Wine?

Actually, when we speak of “brut”, the first thing to come in mind is whether it falls under sparkling wine or Champagne? To clear it out, Champagne and sparkling wine are generally two different drinks. Although, not all drinks considered as sparkling wine is Champagne, yet, every Champagne drink is under the sparkling wine category.

To explain it further, Champagne is generally defined as a sparkling wine processed within the region of Champagne in France. Take note that only sparkling wines made in this specific area can be classified as Champagne. Moreover, the process of making Champagne always comes in a traditional way. 

What is brut sparkling wine

Let’s look at the Spanish Cava; it is actually produced in a similar procedure of making Champagne. Since this is generally grown and processed within the Spanish region, you cannot consider the Spanish Cava as Champagne. 

What is the Meaning of Brut?

In order to define what is brut sparkling wine, let us dig deeper on the meaning of “brut”. Literally speaking, brut comes from a French word meaning dry. In short, when we ask what is brut sparkling wine, we may say that it is a sparkling wine that usually has a dry texture. Yet, within the winemaking industry, brut wine refers to the wine style and not on a specific wine variety.

Moreover, in terms of fine wines, the brut together with the extra dry varieties of Italian wines rank on the top of the list most of the time. This is generally applicable with Franciacorta, the premium sparkling wine in Italy. It is somehow similar to that of Champagne yet, a little bit more inexpensive compared to the top-rated French wines.  

Moreover, the distinction between what is brut sparkling wine and extra dry wine is not yet clearly defined. That’s why it is good to know the difference between brut sparkling wine and extra dry wine.

What is Brut Sparkling Wine Vs Dry or Extra Dry Wine

What is brut sparkling wine? Generally, it is a dry wine containing 1.5% of sugar and crispier taste. Aside from that, brut sparkling wine is a type of drink that is an aperitif. On the other hand, the extra dry wine has about 2% of sugar level; the flavor is richer and has more sugar finish. Basically, the extra dry wine is a perfect one as an after-dinner drink.

On the other hand, the most common misconception about dry wines is the imparting of dry sensation in the mouth. Yet, these drying sensations are more closely related to the tannins. For example, red wines contain higher tannins levels compared to white wines. Generally, wines containing high levels of tannins will have a dry taste.

However, what does it really takes to make wine a “dry” one? Actually, the dryness of wine reflects the sugar levels or the so-called residual sugars. Naturally speaking, grapes contain a fair amount of sugars. Most of these sugars decrease once undergoes the process of fermentation. To call a wine dry, it must have lower residual sugars and do not impart too much sweet taste when drink.

Exploring the Levels of Sweetness

The level of sweetness of a wine generally depends on the level of the dosage. This usually refers to the act of incorporating a minimal amount of sweetened wine back to its bottles. Due to this, it gives a signal to the secondary fermentation process which provides bubbles to the sparkling wine.

Basically, most Champagnes and sparkling wines contain high dosage. Yet, what is brut sparkling wine in terms of sweetness is that it has a very small concentration of the additional sweetened wine. This generally leads to maintaining the dryness and sharpness of the brut sparkling wine.

In order to choose the sparkling wine or Champagne based on your taste preference, check the wine label depending on the following terms:

Brut Nature / Brut Zero 

The highly acidic state and the intense one; in terms of dryness, it is the driest among the dry.

Extra Brut 

This is also called as extra dry but it is not as dry like the brut nature, yet the acidity is still high. It contains around 12 to 17 grams of sugar per liter. The most common wines in this category include most of the whites and some non-sparkling ones like Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Sauvignon Blanc. 


This is actually dry when falls anywhere around 0 to 12 grams of sugar per liter; moreover, compared to brut nature or extra brut, this is a little bit less mouth-watering. But, what is brut sparkling wine in terms of sweetness? Well, they basically have very minimal sweetness level. Champagnes and few Rosés fall under the brut category. 

Extra Sec 

It is a sparkling wine that is also dry with some tastes of fruity sweetness. 


Basically, it contains more levels of residual sugar but acidity makes it balanced.


Having an intense flavor of fruity nature like lychees or apricots, this brut is sweet and lovely. The estimated sugar level that it contains is about 35 to 45 grams per liter. Moreover, these wines often come in blends and are common for desserts and cheese trays. Most Rosés fall in this category, yet you may also see them under brut wines.


A sparkling wine that has more sugar compared to a can of Coke which means it is generally sweet. In estimation, it basically has about more than 50 grams of sugar per liter. The French sparkling wines are commonly referred to as Doux wines. 

Meanwhile, Italian sparkling wines falling in this category get the term Dulce. They are basically dessert wines that contain the highest levels of sugars for all sparkling wines. The best example of this sweet dessert wine is the Moscato. 

What is Brut Sparkling Wines Best For?

Basically, dinner wine is the most common term for brut wines and dry wines. The best food pairings for these wines are savory foods. For the wine enthusiast, brut wines have these extraordinary wine characteristics and give a robust flavor which is generally ideal for sipping alone or paired with some foods.

These wines pair perfectly with a wide range of foods. There are generally bountiful of foods that blend well with the dryness of wine whether it is Spanish Cava, French Champagne, Italian Prosecco, or a simple bottle of Brut Sparkling Wine.

Usually, the bubbly sharpness of brut attacks like a knife in cutting fats and maybe paired deliciously with fatty foods and cheese. Since brut wines can hold up heavier foods, it can be paired with chicken, smoked salmon, meat, battered fish and vegetable kebabs. Moreover, the brut wines also balance the meals that are either heavy or salty, providing the required point of acidity. Due to this, they are also good with entrée salad having zippy vinaigrette.   

Yet, when we compare what is a brut sparkling wine vs extra dry wine in terms of food pairings, you may notice that the latter are a bit versatile. Although, when it comes to satisfaction in pairing with savory entrees, extra dry wines are not that satisfying. Extra dry wines generally suite to pair with Italian dishes like pasta and cheese with creamy sauces. Moreover, a more delicate food pairing for extra dry wines comes with white seafood, cheese and fruit-trays.

Best Temperature to Serve Brut Sparkling Wine

What is brut sparkling wine when it comes to their serving temperature? Generally, brut wines should be served in a similar manner like those other sparkling wines or Champagne – in cold temperature. In order to enjoy brut sparkling wines in its best temperature, simply leave it in the refrigerator for around 3 hours. However, if you do not have enough time, just place it in an ice bucket with ice and water.

What is brut sparkling wine

Moreover, to maintain the bubbles cool, use Champagne flutes in drinking. Basically, the long stems of the flutes will prevent the wine from becoming warm easily with your hands. In case you want to drink brut wines directly from the bottle, better to place the bottle on ice on every sip.

Common Flavors of Brut Sparkling Wine

Particular wine flavors generally differ based on the variety; the extra dry wines offer more fruity tastes with some touch of softness. Meanwhile, what is brut sparkling wine in terms of flavor? Basically, they have a fruity flavor profile but tend to be a little bit sour. This is somehow similar to the taste of highly acidic yet low sugar fruits like lemons. 

Moreover, you will have to distinguish extra dry wines from brut sparkling wines in terms of tartness level and the notes between mildly sweet vs sour. The brut sparkling wine basically concentrates on the dry finish with acidity that is a little bit crispy. On the other hand, the extra dry wines give more dominant fruity notes all throughout. 

Things to Consider when Choosing between Brut Sparkling Wine Vs Extra Dry Wines

Actually, there are numbers of distinctions between what is brut sparkling wine and extra dry wine. And, if you are torn between the two, you’ll need to consider the following factors:

Sparkling wine preference

In terms of the best fine line of Champagne, the highly recommendable one is the brut sparkling wine. The defined, crispy, and acidic bubbles within Champagne generally indicate its best characteristic. However, when you are looking for a fruitier profile of sparkling wine like Prosecco, choose for the extra dry wine. Actually, most of the sparkling wines with fruitier flavor profile are widely available either in a brut category or extra dry.

Flavor notes

This factor is somehow similar to the above, but those wines with uniquely fruity notes like berries are highly applicable to the extra dry wine category. You can notice the flavor note of brut sparkling wine by the citrusy taste.

The occasion

Generally, the occasion may define what is brut sparkling wine vs the extra dry version. The extra dry wine works well during a festive, appetizer event. Meanwhile, brut wine is perfect during a more formal occasion.

Moreover, consider your guests in which they are more accustomed to. If they much prefer dry wines, then choose brut. Yet, if they are more fond of a little sweetness, the extra dry is a good choice.

The budget

Generally, you will notice that most of the top-rated brut wines fall under Champagne and they are more costly compared to the extra dry sparkling wines. In case you are on a budget but is looking for some quality, the extra dry wines are more worthy than brut.

What is Brut Sparkling Wine and Extra Dry Wine Recommendations?

To further help you on your selection on the brut wines and extra dry wines, below is a shortlist of wine options that you may consider:

Brut Sparkling Wine Recommendation:

  • Champagne

Champagne, like Taittinger Brut La Francaise, is somehow more costly but there is a brut option of this wine that has a price range of $30 to $50 per bottle. It generally has a bright yet balanced citrus taste with a touch of minerality. Moreover, you may also find specific elegance within the nonvintage.

  • Rosé

The Schramsberg Brut Rosé 2016 offers a signature bubbles that blend well with savory dish. It has a note of hazelnut, vanilla, and cinnamon on a warmer side. Yet, it also gives some touches of citrusy like grapefruit and a bit of watermelon.

Extra Dry Wine Recommendation:

  • Prosecco

One good example of this is the La Marca Luminore Prosecco Superiore which has a great blend of acidity and softness within various occasions and even for picky drinkers. It features unique bubbles that complement with the stone fruit, white flowers, and citrus. The taste of pears and nectarines are very dominant having a crisp but softer touch. With this, it pairs perfectly with appetizers and meat such as chicken, pork, and fish.

  • Cava

Cava is basically a Spanish sparkling wine under the brut category but having a good option as an extra dry wine. The Freixenet Extra Dry Cava Cordon Negro is generally affordable that greets you with the delicate flavor profile. Due to this, it is very excellent for all kinds of appetizers. 

Final Thoughts

What is brut sparkling wine? Actually, it is a sparkling wine that has a dry texture. It is basically a dinner wine that blends well and perfectly paired with any kinds of food. Champagne generally falls under this category and there are also other popular sparkling wines that are greatly considered as brut sparkling wines. In case you are looking for an excellent wine experience, opt for the brut sparkling wine and taste its extraordinary goodness. So, let’s cheers on that!

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