Liquor Laboratory

Spumante vs Brut: A Guide to Sparkling Wine Varieties (2024)

Spumante vs Brut

When it comes to sparkling wines, choosing between Spumante vs Brut wines for your bubbly fix can be a bit tricky. So, if you find yourself caught in the captivating web of these two sophisticated options, you’re in for a treat with this post!

Having had the pleasure of savoring both of these sparkling wines, I’m here to share my insights to help you choose between the two for your next picnic. Read on!

In-Depth Comparison of Spumante vs Brut Champagne

Two Glasses of Champagne

When comparing Spumante wines and Brut Champagne, it’s essential to understand their key differences and similarities.

While they’re both excellent wines with carbon dioxide, they have their own unique characteristics, setting each one apart.

Spumante wines, like Moscato d’Asti, are typically sweeter, often ranging from sweet to semi-sweet, making them excellent choices for those who enjoy a fruity and dessert-friendly sparkling wine.

It originates from the region of Italy and is known for its high bubbling intensity, lower alcohol content (around 5-9%), and affordability.

Raise our glass, for sparkling wines are the stars of the wine universe.” – Liquor Laboratory 

In contrast, Brut Champagne is dryer, falling into the extra dry to dry category. It comes from various regions worldwide, with a moderate to high bubbling intensity and higher alcohol content (around 11-12%).

Dry sparkling wines, like Brut, pair well with seafood, poultry, and appetizers and are often used as a base wine in Champagne production.

While Spumante is known for its fruity flavors, Brut Champagne offers a more complex, crisp profile with green apple and pear notes.

Also, it’s safe to say that Spumante is a semi-sparkling wine since it’s made from single-tank fermentation in the bottle, unlike Champagne Brut.

So, considering their differences, the choice between these two sparkling wines will depend on your taste preferences and special occasions.

Spumante vs Brut Cheat Sheet

Wine TypeSparklingSparkling
Sweetness LevelSweet to Semi-SweetExtra Dry to Dry
Bubbling IntensityHighModerate to High
Alcohol ContentUsually lower (around 5-9%)Higher (around 11-12%)
Food PairingDesserts, fruits, light dishesSeafood, poultry, appetizers
Usage in ChampagneTypically not usedOften used as a base wine
Average PriceAround $10-$20/750mlAround $25-$50/750ml 
Star Rating★★★★☆★★★☆☆

Head-To-Head Comparison

Originating Region

Spumante primarily hails from Italy, where it enjoys a long production history. This Italian bubbly drink brings forth the country’s rich winemaking heritage, delivering a burst of character.

In contrast, Brut comes from a more global stage, with various countries crafting their own versions, including France, Spain, and the United States.

Read: Top Champagnes For Mimosas

Name Meaning

Man Drinking Brut Champagne

The name “Spumante” literally translates to “foamy” in Italian, a fitting moniker for a sparkling wine with a rich effervescence, while “Brut” signifies a dry wine, reflecting its crisp and less sweet Brut nature.

As you may notice, these names provide a sneak peek into their respective flavor profiles. But how much alcohol is in champagne?

Grape Variety

Both Champagne and Spumante wines are made from different varieties of grapes, each contributing to their unique taste profiles.

Spumante often features Muscat Bianco grapes from the Piedmont region of Italy – Asti Spumante, which we all know for their aromatic sweetness.

But some styles of Asti Spumante, like Franciacorta DOCG and Trento DOC, are made from Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Meunier grapes.

As for Prosecco wine, like the Prosecco DOC Spumante, the main grape variety is Glera combined with other grapes, including Pinot Noir, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Blanc, and Glera Lunga grapes.

Brut Champagne, on the other hand, typically utilizes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Meunier, Arbane, and Petit Meslier grapes, which give it a more structured and dry to extra dry character.

Note: The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are sourced directly from the best vineyards within the French Champagne region. Besides, some varieties include Grenache blanc and Viognier.

Alcohol Content

Spumante’s alcohol content, typically hovering between 5% to 9% per 750ml bottle, makes it a lighter choice for those who prefer a milder buzz.

Meanwhile, Champagne Brut’s alcohol content ranges from 11% to 12% per 750ml bottle.

Wine Selection

Spumante is an excellent choice for celebrations like Mother’s Day and dessert pairings. Its sweetness complements the likes of fruit tarts and cakes splendidly.

With its dry to extra dry nature, Brut is a staple in Champagne production within the Champagne region, often forming the base wine [1] for classic bubbly.

It also shines when served as an aperitif, setting the mood for a memorable meal, which is especially perfect for any Spring day.

Flavor Profile

White wine pouring into a glass

I like how Spumante wine showcases various fruity flavors with peach, apricot, and citrus notes. This sweet wine is a perfect sip for those with a sweet tooth.

Champagne Brut, on the other hand, provides a more complex flavor profile, featuring crisp green apple, pear, and a subtle hint of yeastiness, owing to its second fermentation process. But does champagne freeze?

How to Serve Spumante vs Brut

Asti Spumante is best enjoyed chilled in flute glasses, allowing its effervescence to sparkle.

To serve this wine, here’s what I usually do: Chill the bottle to around 45-50°F (7-10°C), and use flute glasses to preserve its effervescence. Then, I pour gently to avoid excessive foam.

Champagne Brut, too, benefits from a chill but is best served in a broader wine glass or tulip-shaped glass to capture its intricate aromas.

Chill it to the same temperature range and opt for tulip-shaped or wider wine glasses. The broader glass allows you to appreciate its aromas. Avoid overfilling to savor the complexity of its flavors.

Spumante vs Brut Storage

Both the Asti Spumante and Champagne Brut should be stored horizontally in a cool, dark place to preserve their quality.

Avoid temperature fluctuations, which can affect their aging process as much as possible.

Spumante vs Brut Cocktails

Like Moscato d’Asti, Asti Spumante is typically enjoyed on its own or with a splash of fruit juice for a refreshing twist. Some of my favorite cocktails with Spumanter include:

  • Sparkling Apple Pear Sangria
  • Sparkling Strawberry Martini
  • Spumante-Vodka Cocktail

Meanwhile, Champagne Brut plays a central role in classic cocktails like the Mimosa and Bellini [2].

Since it is a dry wine, it perfectly complements fruit juices’ sweetness. In addition to my favorites include:

  • St. Germain Spritz
  • French 75
  • Prosecco Mint Julep

Sweet vs Dry Champagne 

Woman Opening Bottle of Champagne

We can quantify the wine’s sweetness level [3] in either grams of sugar per liter (g/L) or as a percentage.

For your reference, 10 g/L is equivalent to 1%, which translates to 6 calories per 5-ounce serving.

If you prefer sweetness in your Italian sparkling wine, Asti Spumante is the way to go. It’s a crowd-pleaser, with 50+ sugar per liter (g/l).

But, if you lean towards drier, crisper flavors, Champagne Brut’s the ideal choice, with less sugar – 12 grams of sugar per liter (g/l). 

In short, if you want a drier sparkling white wine, go for Extra Brut, but if you don’t mind the residual sugar, opt for Spumante.

To understand more about the wine’s sweetness level, here’s a quick rundown: 

  • Brut Nature: Less than 3 g/l
  • Extra Brut: Less than 6 g/l
  • Brut: Less than 12 g/l
  • Extra Dry: Between 12-17 g/l
  • Sec/Dry: Between 17-32 g/l
  • Demi-Sec/Medium Dry: Between 32-50 g/l
  • Doux/Sweet: 50+ g/l

Food Pairings+

Here’s my quick Spumante vs Brut comparison in regards to food pairings:

Spumante wines deliver diverse food pairing possibilities, with variations depending on the style:

  • Asti Spumante, like Moscato d’Asti, while somewhat a less versatile wine than Prosecco, can still be enjoyed with various dishes, including desserts.
  • Traditional pairings include Indian cuisine, clams, oysters, Cheddar cheese, and Parmigiano cheese, among others.
  • For dessert, consider pairing it with fruit tarts, excluding those with orange flavor, as well as sponge cake, Panettone, Pandoro, and dried fruits.

“Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.” – Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States

Champagne, like Brut, White Merlot (Melange de Blanc), and Prosecco, boasts impressive versatility when it comes to meal pairings:

  • Classic choices encompass French fries, mac & cheese, oysters, lobster, sashimi, fish & chips, and fried calamari.
  • Creamy cheeses like Camembert are excellent companions for Champagne [4] as well.


Is Spumante or Brut better for Mimosas?

Brut Champagne is better for Mimosas due to its dry to extra dry profile, which balances the sweetness of the orange juice beautifully.

Which is drier, Champagne Brut or Spumante?

Champagne Brut’s definitely drier. It is known for its crisp and less candied nature, making it an excellent choice for those who prefer a dryer sparkling wine.
Champagne Bruts contain less residual sugar content compared to Spumante, so it’s drier.

Which is better for beginners, Champagne Brut or Spumante?

For beginners, Spumante is a better choice due to its sweet and fruity profile, which is more approachable. It’s a delightful introduction to the world of sparkling white wines.

Is Spumante sweeter than Brut?

Yes, typically, Spumante tends to be sweeter than Brut. Spumante wines can range from sweet to off-dry, while Brut is known for its dryness, containing minimal residual sugar.

What does “Spumante” mean in the context of sparkling wine?

“Spumante” is an Italian term used to describe sparkling wine, indicating that the wine is effervescent or fizzy. It encompasses a range of sweetness levels, from sweet to off-dry to dry.

What does “Brut” signify on a sparkling wine label?

“Brut” denotes a dry style of sparkling wine, indicating that the wine contains minimal residual sugar. It is the driest category among sparkling wines, offering a crisp and refreshing taste.

Can you describe the taste difference between Spumante and Brut?

Spumante often presents a sweeter taste profile, with noticeable residual sugar contributing to a fruitier and more rounded flavor. In contrast, Brut showcases a dry taste, with pronounced acidity and minimal sweetness, offering a crisp and refreshing palate.

Which occasions are more suitable for serving Spumante or Brut?

Spumante is often enjoyed on its own as a dessert wine or paired with fruit-based desserts due to its sweeter nature. Brut, on the other hand, is commonly served as an apéritif or alongside savory dishes, making it suitable for various occasions, including celebrations and formal gatherings.

Key Takeaways

In the Spumante vs Brut showdown, the winner ultimately depends on your taste preferences and the occasion.

But since I’m after a sweeter, more dessert-friendly option, the best Champagne bottle (for me) is Spumante.

While they are both versatile wines, Spumante delivers the best experience – it has the sweetness I’m looking for, goes well with food, and has the delightful bubbly effect, elevating the experience.

But, if you crave the dry elegance of classic Champagne, go for Champagne Bruts. I find both have their place in the world of wine, offering unique experiences that cater to different palates and moods.

So, why not explore both and savor the best of both worlds? Cheers to your sparkling journey!


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