Also known as ‘liqueur de dosage or liqueur d’expedition, Dosage refers to a sweet portion of liquid which is added to the Champagne after disgourgement. It helps balance the final flavour of the wine prior to consumption. The amount of liquid added is at the wine-makers discretion but there are general terms which give the consumer indications as to the Dosage which are printed on the bottle.
Disgourement is the removal of the expended yeast and sediment from the secondary fermentation (the fermentation which creates the bubbles), so the dosage process is typically done straight afterwards before the bottle is corked. The bottle then goes back into the cellar for a period of time for the sweet liquid to naturally disperse within the bottle before distribution.
The dosage liquid can vary, but typically a sweetened wine mixture often referred to as a wine ‘liquor’ is used. Sugar beet sugar is widely used to sweeten a base wine to produce this liquor although all houses will have different preferences.
Dosage is denoted as grams per Litre (g/L). Most Champagnes in a modern sense are made quite dry, predominantly ranging from 8-12g/L. In a less technical sense, consumers can get a good indication of the Dosage by words such as “brut’ ‘Sec’ and other terms listed below. Some houses will specify the exact g/L figure on the back of the bottle, where others would prefer not to disclose the exact amount.
If you click on the links below you can read the typical dosage for each style. They are listed below in order from lowest dosage (driest) to highest dosage (sweetest).