Brut Champagne

Brut is the most common style of Champagne produced today. The term refers to the level of sweetness, which is determined by the dosage, or the amount of sugar-and-wine mixture the winemaker chooses to add to the final wine before corking. The less dosage, the drier the Champagne. And while the Brut category allows for between 0 and 12 grams per liter of residual sugar, even wines at the high end of the spectrum taste perceivably dry. That's because of the naturally high acidity of grapes grown in the cool climate and chalk-laced soils of the Champagne region. Those on the low end of the spectrum (between 0 and 6 grams per liter of residual sugar) may also be labeled Extra-Brut, indicating an even drier, racier style.

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Top 10 Dry Champagnes
Most of the famous names in Champagne are "houses" that buy grapes from dozens or even hundreds of small farmers throughout the region. Some are huge (Moët & Chandon, for instance, makes millions of bottles a year) and some are quite small, but the overall approach remains consistent. And because the winemaker (or chef de cave) doesn't rely on a single vineyard, it's easier to fashion a wine that consistently expresses a house style year in and year out—something particularly important for dry (brut) nonvintage blends, like the 10 spectacular bottles above.—Ray Isle
10 Top Affordable Champagnes
Reasonably-priced Champagnes can be terrific for any occasion and season, without breaking your wallet. Here are 10 of our most affordable favorites we've selected.