Champagne dosage is the amount of sugar added to a bottle of champagne before it is sealed. It is added to balance the acidity of the wine and to give it a desired level of sweetness.
Dosage is the sweet portion of liquid which is added to the Champagne after disgourgement. Dosage is alos known as ‘liqueur de dosage or liqueur d’expedition
Champagne dosage 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.
Champagne Dosage Levels
The dosage is typically expressed in grams of sugar per liter of champagne. The final dosage is usually determined by the winemaker based on the specific characteristics of the champagne and the desired flavor profile.
Most Champagnes in a modern sense are made quite dry, predominantly ranging from 8 and 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.
The Champagne Dosage of different types of champagne are listed below in order from lowest dosage (driest) to highest dosage (sweetest).
- Brut Nature/Zero Dosage: 0 g/L
- Extra Brut: 0-6 g/L
- Brut: 0-12: g/L
- Extra Sec/Extra Dry: 12-20 g/L
- Sec: 17-35 g/L
- Demi-Sec: 33-50 g/L
- Doux: 50+ g/L
Champagne with a lower dosage will be drier and more acidic, while champagne with a higher dosage will be sweeter and less acidic. The dosage level is not necessarily an indicator of the overall quality of the champagne, as it is a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer drier champagne while others prefer sweeter champagne.