Some labels bear predicates such as ‘Grand Cru’ or ‘Premier Cru’. These descriptions are in no way a guarantee of quality of the Champagne. They merely relate to the quality of the Champagne. They merely relate to the quality of the grapes used in the making of the wine.
Extra brut/Brut sauvage/Ultra brut
This wine is very very dry. After degorgement, extra brut is solely topped up with the same wine and therefore contains virtually no residual sugar. Few people appreciate Champagne as dry as chalk.
Brut (non vintage)
This is the most widely drunk type of Champagne: dry but not too dry. This main product of the Champagne houses contains a maximum of 1,5% by volume of residual sugar. Brut is made from a blend of the three classic grapes:Chadonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. As a rule they come from different parts of Champagne and from different years.
A young brut is fresh and boisterous, its colour pale yellow, occasionally with a sparkle of pink. Depending of the blend, a young brut will smell of either white fruit or red fruit, with the suggestion of hot white bread. It is a perfect aperitif but can also be served with most light starters.
A mature brut will be less fresh but fuller and more herbal in taste. The colour tends towards darker yellow with hints of orange and the smell is reminescent of ripe apple, dried fruit, spice, and sometimes of black cherry of blackcurrant. In terms of both nose and taste it has something of French croissants or brioche. The wine is ideal with fish and poultry. A fully aged brut is less rumbustious in terms of carbon dioxide bubbles but will have acquired a full, complex, and very rich, almost creamy taste. The colour is dark yellow with hints of brown. The smell is reminiscent of roasted nuts and dried fruit with occasional suggestions of the tertiary aromas of coffee and sometimes even of old leather. This wine can be drunk on any occasion.
Vintage brut (Millésimé)
This brut has the same characteristics as ordinary brut but is only made in years when a vintage is declared.
Bruts Blanc de Blancs
Champagne Blanc de Blanc is made exclusively from the Chardannay grape and is hence a white wine from white grape. It may be either vintage or non vintage. This is normally a fresh, fruity wine with lots of fine acidity.
The colour is pale yellow eith a green haze when young, turning increasingly yellow to golden as it ages. A young brut Blancs de Blancs has tempting aromas of citrus fruits, fresh mint, wild frowers, and an also shameless freshness. A mature brut Blancs de Blancs tends more towards a freshly-piched posy of wild flowers, ripe fruit, and a hint of lime blossom. Although still very fresh, this wine is more rounded and full-bodied than when young. The taste is fuller and more balanced.
A fully-aged brut Blancs de Blancs is a bowl filled with exotic fruits, with suggestions of freshly-ground pepper and spices.
Brut Blancs de Noirs
This Champagne is extremly rare. This is a robust and very tasty white wine, produced from the blue-black Pinot Noir Meunier grapes.
Extra dry/Extra sec
Normally only found on labels intended for the American or British markets. Perhaps the motto is: ‘Call them dry but make them sweet’ for these Champagnes contain 1.2-2% residual sugar.
Rather confusing with the same comment as above. This wine is not truly dry and contains between 1.7 and 3.5% residual sugar.
This wine is delightful, slightly sweet, and has 3.3-5% residual sugar.
This is the sweetest if all with a minimun of 5% residual sugar.
Pink Champagne of Champagne Rosé is med using still red wine of Champagne, which are added to the Cuvée. Pink Champagne id sold as straight-forward brut, wintage brut, and brut demi-sec,
The colour varies from pale pink, through salmon pink, to even raspberry and cherry red. Pink Champagne tryly seduces and is a superb aperitif. Served at table, pink Champagne best accompanies meat dishes and poultry.