Dosage

French term for the sugar adjustment made to traditional-method sparkling wines. The dosage material, called liqueur d’expedition or liqueur de dosage, is added after disgorgement and before corking.

The technique is not exclusively French, but used throughout the world to finish all traditional method sparkling wines.

The choice of dosage will dictate the style of the wine, from extremely dry to sweet. In Champagne, for example, the rules stipulate 0–6 g/L of finished sugar in Extra Brut and less than 12 g/L in Brut. The volume of sugar rises through the Extra Dry, Sec, Demi-Sec, and Doux styles, the highest of which may have more than 50 g/L of sugar.

Sparkling wine’s firm acidity can be amicably balanced by the sweetness in the dosage. The sugar in Brut and Extra Brut styles is rarely obvious, serving instead to create a fuller impression and bring the wine into harmony.

However, some winemakers prefer to leave their wines un-dosed to create a more direct, cleansing style. Non-dosed wines are sometimes labeled Brut nature, pas dosé, or dosage zéro.

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