Champagne Brut is by far the most common style of Champagne wine. The word brut means 'crude' or 'raw' in French. In the context of Champagne production it indicates that the wine is bottled (almost) unsweetened – in its natural, 'raw' state.
In practice almost all Brut Champagnes do receive a small addition of sweetness (see dosage) prior to final bottling. Nowadays, the terms 'brut nature' and 'zero dosage' are used to indicate champagnes with no dosage at all. The brut style was pioneered by Perrier-Jouet in the mid-19th century, originally for the extensive Champagne markets of Great Britain.
According to the INAO and EU laws, the technical definition of brut is 'less than 15 grams per liter of residual sugar' (this applies to all sparkling wines from Europe). In still wines, which lack the sparkle and high acidity of Champagne, this much sugar would leave the wine perceptibly sweet.
The other official sweetness levels of champagne are:
- Doux (50+ g/L)
- Demi-sec (33–50 g/L)
- Sec (17–35 g/L)
- Extra-Sec (12–20 g/L)
- Brut (0–15 g/L)
- Extra Brut (0–6 g/L)
- Brut Nature/Zero (0–3 g/L).