What is Extra Brut?
5th August 2021
On most sparkling wine bottle front labels you will see a description such as Extra Brut or Brut, maybe you’ll see Demi-Sec or Extra-Dry. For many, and sometimes confusing even the wine professionals themselves, these terms are to signify the amount of sugar the sparkling wine will contain.
Why the confusion? Now dry doesn’t mean what you might think don’t forget, it does not mean the taste sensation term in that the wine will only make you thirstier in drying out your palate/mouth, it means quite the opposite in that more sugar is added so expect a sweeter tasting experience.
Extra Brut sits just under what many see as the most popular style of sparkling wine, Brut, with slightly less sugar of 0-6 g/L (gram per litre). An Extra Brut can indeed then be quite dry with practically zero sugar added or be fairly similar to a Brut with up to 6 g/L of sugar.
What does an Extra Brut Champagne / Sparkling Wine taste like?
On most occasions, there will be only a slight difference and this will be on the taste expression which will be slightly lower on sweetness (some will say too much sweetness can hide natural flavours). The wine is likely to be more ideal for certain food pairings and Extra Bruts are said to be far better on the refreshing and crispness levels.
For me personally, some of the best vintage Champagnes and other traditional method sparkling wines have been Extra Brut labels.
Lastly, people prefer the Extra Brut option with its lower sugar content level for dietary reasons – Less calories per glass!
We put three Slovenian Extra Brut Sparkling Wine labels to the test:
Ptujske Klet – Pullus Penina Extra Brut 2017 – Bronze Medal in ‘Zesty & Zingy’ category: “Soft green fruits, white floral on the nose. Citrus, minerals and white floral flavours. Almost an Alpine character.”
Vinarstvo Zalatel – de Onesti Extra Brut 2017 – Gold Medal in ‘Gastronomic’ category: “Lightly toasted bread, citrus, green fruits on the nose. Touch of toastiness, minerals, soft citrus, peach skin flavours.”
Vinarstvo Marc – Penina Zelena Extra Brut 2016 – Gold Medal in ‘Winter Warmer’ category: “Golden fruits, soft pastry hints on the nose. Dry flavours, crisp and ever so refreshing. Ideal for food pairings.“
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.