Celebrating an occasion or simply in the mood for some bubbly? When it comes to ordering the right bottle of champagne, it helps to have a little understanding – or better yet, to be able to impress your date by ordering one that suits her palate. Each of champagne house has a different style, so it helps to understand its description and know what to expect. If you aren’t too familiar yet, fear not! Here are some important terms on a champagne label that you should know.

  • CHAMPAGNE – This refers to the region in France where the sparkling wine is produced. The common towns are Reims and Épernay.
  • Name of the Producer – This is usually displayed prominently in the center of the label; e.g. Nicolas Feuillatte, Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot etc.
  • BRUT – An Indication of the level of sweetness in the wine. This ranges from BRUT, the most common and less sweet with around ½ a teaspoon of sugar, to SEC which offers ¾ to 1 teaspoon of sugar sweetness. The sweetest are DEMI-SEC and DOUX; both of which contain about 1-2 teaspoon of sweetness. 
  • NV – NV spells out Non-Vintage, and these are the most common. Vintage ones will have its vintage year on the label. 
  • Rose, Blanc de Blanc – These are grape varietals used to produce the wine. If this is not stated, champagnes generally use a variety of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay as its primary grapes.

Exploring a new bottle of champagne can be an exciting activity for both you and your date. So, relax and enjoy the process. In any case, if it’s hard to make up your mind, you can always opt for the staff’s recommendation.

For a bottle of Champagne to be called Champagne, it must be produced in a wine region in France, called Champagne. Anything else is just sparkling wine.