Champagne brut vs Spumante are two popular types of sparkling wine. So, who wins the bubble battle here? It depends on a few factors, like your budget for wine, sweetness preferences, and more. Use this side-by-side comparison as a starting point. Ultimately, the best way to experience these two beautiful wines is to try both and see which you like most.
Champagne brut vs Spumante: Which Wine Regions Make Them?
Champagne wines are exclusively produced in the champagne wine region of France. Even if producers use traditional methods, a sparkling wine made anywhere else cannot be called Champagne. For those considering wine travel, the Champagne is roughly 76 miles (150 KM) from Paris.
Spumante is an Italian sparkling wine produced in southeastern Piedmont. From a wine travel perspective, Piedmont is located nearby by Turin. The closest major international airport to the wine region is Milan.
For many of us, price is the most significant difference in this category of wines. Before you buy a bottle for your next special occasion, find out more about typical prices.
Champagne brut vs Spumante: Which Is More Expensive?
In general, Champagne Brut tends to be more expensive than Spumante. There are two reasons for this: production method and brand reputation. In comparison, Spumante is the affordable wine winner.
Champagne Brut is produced using the traditional method (also known as the classic method), which involves a second fermentation in the bottle. This method is time-consuming and requires a high level of expertise, which contributes to the higher price point of Champagne Brut. On the other hand, Spumante is usually produced using the Charmat method, which involves a second fermentation in a pressurized tank, and is generally less expensive.
In addition, the champagne region has developed an outstanding reputation for high-end luxury wine. As a result, Champagne producers can charge a premium price for their bubbly drink.
Champagne Brut tends to be more expensive than Spumante due to the traditional production methods. If you’re on a tight budget, pick up a half bottle of Champagne Brut, get a full bottle of Spumante, or try some champagne alternatives. Your bubbly wine-style options go far beyond Champagne vs Spumante.
Which Wine Grapes Are Used In These Sparkling Wines?
The grapes used in the production of Champagne and Spumante play a crucial role in determining their flavor, aroma, and overall character. Here is a comparison of the grapes used in Champagne and Spumante, with specific examples from France and Italy.
Champagne is mainly made using a blend of three grape varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. Chardonnay grapes are known for their citrus and apple flavors, while Pinot Noir grapes contribute to the wine’s body and structure. Pinot Meunier, less common grapes, add a fruity flavor to the wine.
On the other hand, Spumante can be made using various grape types, including Moscato, Glera, and Prosecco. Moscato grapes are known for their sweetness and floral aroma, while Glera grapes are crisp and fruity. Prosecco grapes are known for their apple and pear flavors.
Dry Wine or Sweet Wine: Comparing Spumante vs Champagne
The best way to find out if the bottle of wine is sweet is to consider the amount of residual sugar in the bottle. Sparkling wines are often thought to be sweeter than non-sparkling wines. Some wine stores will give you measurements in terms of grams of sugar or sugar per liter. Both of those measures are helpful in comparing levels of sweetness between wines.
Spumante wines typically have a residual sugar content of 10-25 grams per liter, but these Italian wines have a lot of variation.
- Franciacorta Brut, made from Chardonnay, Pinot Nero, and Pinot Bianco grapes, has a residual sugar content of 7-12 grams per liter. It is dry and elegant, with notes of white flowers and brioche.
- In contrast, take a look at La Marca Prosecco. This sparkling wine is made from 100% Glera grapes and has a residual sugar content of 12 grams per liter. It is light and crisp, with notes of green apple and citrus.
- At the high end of sugar content is Moscato d’Asti. This wine is made from the Moscato Bianco grape and has a residual sugar content of 80-120 grams per liter. It is sweet and refreshing, with notes of apricot and honey.
Though exceptions exist, French Champagne wines typically have a residual sugar content of 12-50 grams per liter. There’s a big difference in the level of sweetness in that range: under 10 grams may feel like a hint of sweetness, while the high sugar content is associated with dessert wines.
- Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut has a residual sugar content of fewer than 3 grams per liter. It is dry and crisp, with notes of lemon and green apple.
- Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec has a residual sugar content of 32 grams per liter and is sweet and luscious, with notes of peach and honey.
- Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial, one of the most famous Champagne producers, has a residual sugar content of 9 grams per liter and is dry and elegant, with notes of citrus and brioche.
When ordering in a restaurant, ask about the sugar content if you want a “bone dry” wine (i.e. the absence of sweetness). Sparkling wines are made with a wide range of sugar content, so asking is essential to avoid disappointment. Experience is the best way to discover which degrees of sweetness you enjoy in wine.
How Much Alcohol In Spumante vs Champagne
The average alcohol level of French Champagne is around 12%. The ABV range is sometimes higher or lower depending on the grape varieties and the winemaking techniques. Consider the following examples.
- Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Réserve has an alcohol content of 12%, which is average for most champagnes. It is made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes and has notes of apple and pear.
- Bollinger Special Cuvée has a 12.5% alcohol level. This Champagne is made from a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier grapes. It is complex and full-bodied, with notes of caramel and roasted nuts.
- Dom Perignon Vintage Champagne has an average of 12.5% alcohol by volume. It is made from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes and has a rich and complex taste with notes of white flowers and citrus fruits.
Spumante has an average alcohol level of 11-12%. However, like all wines, the alcohol level can vary depending on the types of grapes used and the winemaking techniques used.
- Moscato d’Asti, produced in the Piedmont region of Italy, has an alcohol content of around 5.5%. It is made from Moscato Bianco grapes and has a sweet and fruity taste with notes of peach and apricot.
- Prosecco Superiore, produced in the Veneto region of Italy, offers 11% alcohol content. It is made from the Glera grape and has a light, refreshing taste with green apple and pear notes.
- Asti Spumante, produced in the Piedmont region of Italy, has an alcohol content of around 7-9%. It is made from Moscato Bianco grapes and has a sweet and fruity taste with notes of grape and honey.
- Trento Doc Brut has an average alcohol content of around 12.5%. This wine is produced in the Trentino region of Italy and is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. It has a dry and elegant taste with notes of citrus and almond.
Champagne Brut vs Spumante Conclusion
Both of these wines have a good reputation as a classic brunch drink and a wine for celebration. Your drink choice will depend on your budget, alcohol preferences, and preferred flavors. Spumante is generally more affordable and offers lower alcohol options. Champagne, on the other hand, has an outstanding reputation and elegant sweetness.