How to choose the right sparkling wine? Do you know the various types?

by Redazione Fine Taste

If you know all the nuances and differences of sparkling wines, then this blog is not for you.

If, however, when choosing a bottle of sparkling wine you are puzzled by the different terminologies such as Pas dose', Dry, Extra Dry and Demi Sec then you may be interested in continuing your reading.

Should we start? Let's start with a brief historical note.

Birth of Sparkling Wine

(*) Abbot Dom Perignom

With a hint of envy, sparkling wine was born in the mid-1600s in France, specifically in the Champagne area, north-east of Paris.

It was born thanks to the intuition of a Benedictine friar, the now legendary Dom Perignon of the Hautvillers Abbey near Epernay.

Partly out of passion, partly to solve the problem of glass bottles breaking following the natural fermentation of wine caused by the excessive increase in carbon dioxide, Dom Perignom became the first scholar and theoretician of the chemical phenomena of sparkling wine production.

The turning point came with the introduction, by English industries, of higher quality and therefore more resistant glass and, above all, with the ingenious idea of ​​replacing traditional wooden stoppers with cork ones!

Cork, in fact, allowed a better seal, thanks to the possibility of fixing it to the neck of the bottle thanks to the metal cage that we all know today.

After a brief but necessary historical mention, let's now look at the production methods of sparkling wine.

Types of sparkling wine

Without getting too technical, we can say that sparkling wines are produced using two techniques, the "Classic" or "Champenois" method and the "Charmat" method.

The Classic method involves refermentation in the bottle, that is, after an initial natural fermentation on the yeasts, the wine is bottled with the addition of sugar and yeasts which favor the refermentation and the increase in pressure in the bottle according to the rules of the specification.

The Charmat method has a production process almost similar to the Classic one, but differs from this in that the fermentation takes place through the use of autoclaves, hermetic steel containers, and with isobaric bottling.

We finally get to the heart of the matter. How to choose the right sparkling wine? How to match it correctly? How to disentangle the various labels?

It's actually simpler than it might appear.

The classification of sparkling wines

The classification of sparkling wines occurs based on the sugar content. Having a minimum of familiarity with these types allows us to distinguish the different characteristics of a sparkling wine and choose the one that will best satisfy our palate during a toast.

We can consider three categories: dry sparkling wines, such as zero dosage, extra brut and brut; soft sparkling wines, such as extra dry and dry and, finally, sweet ones, such as demi sec and dolce.

The following table shows a detail on the quantity of sugar allowed by the regulations.

Types of sparkling wines

Amount of sugar

Pas dosé or Zero dosage or Nature

Less than 3 grams per liter

Extra brut

Less than 6 grams per liter


Less than 12 grams per liter

Extra dry

Between 12 and 17 grams per liter

Sec or Dry

Between 18 and 32 grams per liter

Demi sec

Between 33 and 50 grams per liter


Greater than 51 grams per liter


Dry sparkling wines are perfect as an aperitif but also as a wine for the whole meal. Their acidity allows for a very versatile combination on the table.

Soft sparkling wines are ideal with savory dishes, which contrast their natural softness.

Sweet sparkling wines, on the other hand, are obviously suitable to accompany desserts but also some blue cheeses.

This is our last blog of the year. See you in 2023! Best wishes to all!

You can find our best bubbles here.