Brut vs Extra Dry: Which is Better?

Brut vs Extra Dry brut vs extra dry

When it comes to Champagne and sparkling wine, the terms “Brut” and “Extra dry” are often used to describe the level of sweetness in the wine. But what do these terms actually mean? So let’s see how Brut vs Extra Dry differ?

Table of Contents

How is Champagne Made?

France Wine Region Map red grapes pinot noir vintage champagne

Champagne is made in the Champagne region using a special process called the Methode Champenoise (aka Traditional Method or Champagne Method), which involves fermenting the wine in two stages. 

While the first stage of fermentation takes place in barrels, the second stage takes place in the Champagne bottles. And this process gives champagne its characteristic fine bubbles. Also by aging on the lees, it gives the toasty and nutty aromas of a classic Champagne.

Another part of their winemaking procedure, Champagne winemakers include a modest amount of grape must or sugar in what is called “liqueur d’expedition” to lessen the sharp flavors within the wine. And this procedure decides the different level of sweetness of that Champagne.

In any case, Brut and Extra dry are two of the most common and popular types of Champagne/sparking wine. Here’s what you need to know about each one (Brut vs Extra Dry):


Brut means “raw” or dry in French, and it’s the driest style of Champagne and sparkling wine. And according to French wine regulations, Brut Champagne must contain no more than 12 grams of residual sugar per liter.

Therefore, Brut Champagne and sparkling wine are often described as “bone-dry” or “crisp,” with little to no perceptible sweetness.  And they are typically the most popular style sparkling wines, as they pair well with a wide range of foods and can be enjoyed on their own.

Extra Dry

Despite its name, Extra Dry Champagne/sparkling wine are actually slightly sweeter than brut. And according to French wine regulations, Extra Dry Champagne can contain between 12 and 17 grams of residual sugar per liter.

Thus, Extra Dry Champagne/sparkling wines are often described as having a “hint of sweetness” or “off-dry” character. Because they are still relatively dry, but have a bit more fruitiness and roundness on the palate compared to a Brut Champagne.

Different Types of Champagne

different types of Champagne vintage champagne
  • Prestige Cuvée – The best of the best. A Champagne house’s flagship wines. And the best Champagne made with only the best grapes from the best vineyards.
  • Blanc de Blancs – Made with 100% Chardonnay grapes. And typically you will find citrus and apple flavors.
  • Blanc de Noirs – Blanc de Noirs Champagne is made with 100% Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier grapes. And these Champagnes tend to have more body and more fuller red fruit flavors.
  • Rosé Champagne – Rosé Champagne is made with a blend of red and white grapes. And these Champagnes tend to be very fruity with flavors of strawberries and raspberries
  • Sweet Champagne –  Finally, a sweet Champagne has a high residual sugar content (32 to 50+ grams per liter.) And some examples of they types are Demi-sec and Doux Champagnes.

Champagne Sweetness Scale

champagne sweetness scale fortified wine red wine red wine brut nature extra brut extra dry sparkling wine
  1. Brut Nature (Zero) – 0-3 g/L residual sugar (RS)
  2. Extra Brut – 0-6 g/L RS
  3. Brut – 0-12 g/L RS
  4. Extra Dry – 12-17 g/L RS
  5. Dry – 17-32 g/L RS
  6. Demi-Sec – 32-50 g/L RS
  7. Doux – 50+ g/L RS

Which One is Better?

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to which style of Champagne and sparkling wine is better. And it really depends on personal preference and what you’re pairing the wine with.

  • So, if you prefer a bone-dry wine with minimal sweetness, then brut is the way to go.
  • And if you prefer a slightly sweeter wine with more fruitiness, then extra dry may be more your style.

When it comes to pairing with food, Brut wine is often the better choice as it can complement a wide range of flavors and dishes. While Extra Dry can work well with slightly spicier dishes due to its slight sweetness.

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