Wine guides

Brut, Dry, Extra Dry Sparkling wines: what are they and how to choose them

Written by EFW Staff

Brut and Dry Sparkling wines: sugar makes the difference

Not all the Sparkling wines (in Italian, Spumante) are the same, one of the most important characteristic, always specified in the label, is the quantity of sugar in the wine. Extra brut, Brut, Extra dry and Dry are the classifications to recognize the quantity of sugar in Sparkling wines, Champagne and Prosecco, thus the grams of sugar per litre. How many times have you been uncertain in front of the supermarket stalls between a Brut Sparkling wine or an Extra dry? Or the right pairing with a starter or a dessert? Here you can find a small guide that can clarify your doubts, explaining you what these classifications mean and the best pairings.


Brut Nature

They are wines with a strong flavour, also called Zero dosage or Pas Dosè, with a sugar residue below or equal to 3 grams per litre. Among this wines, with a sweet flavour and fresh notes, there are both Prosecco and Champagne, stronger, dry, perfect for savoury dishes; starter, first and second course or recipes with white meat and fish.

Extra brut

The residual sugar is low, a maximum of 6 gr per litre. The Extra Brut Sparkling wine are dry and pretty sour, perfect for the whole meal from the starter to cheese, possibly not too aged but fresh and milky. They don’t match, instead, with desserts and cakes.


Brut sparkling wines count a maximum of 12gr of sugar per litre. The word Brut mean a “rough”, “row” wine to show the lack of sweetness. Its strong taste, slightly sour and fruity makes them perfect for the meal. Besides being perfect during the aperitif, they can match with starter, risotto, white meat and fish; try them with fresh cheeses, soft or middle aged. In the Brut category, we can enclose the great part of the Sparkling wines produced with the Traditional Method, or Champenoise with the secondary fermentation in bottle.

Extra Dry

The quantity of sugar in the Extra Dry sparkling wines can reach the 12-17gr per litre. Even if the name can be deceptive, this wine isn’t dry, but slightly sweet with a fruity and soft, perfect with white meats, delicate dishes, but also fresh cheese. Sweeter and softer than the Brut wine, the Extra Dry sparkling wine is a famous bubbling wine, which production is widely spread.


The sweetest one is the Dry classification, with a sugar residue, which varies between 17 and 32 gr per litre. These sparkling wines can match perfectly with cheese and dried or fresh fruit, and for who doesn’t love the cloying and sweet wines Dry Spumante is perfect with desserts. The best thing, however, it to serve them with savoury dishes as seafood, for example try it with pasta with clams or “impepata di cozze” (mussels with pepper and lemon juice). The perlage of this type of wine is generally fine and persistent, whereas it has a fruity bouquet.

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EFW Staff