Deutsches Weininstitut Bannergrafik

Sparkling wine (sekt)

The wine law defines four basic styles to express the degree of dryness or sweetness of a still wine.

Residual Sweetness Levels in Sparkling Wine

naturherb (brut nature) 0-<3 g/l
extra herb (extra brut)  0-<6 g/l
herb (brut)    0-<12 g/l
extra trocken (extra dry) 12-<17 g/l
trocken (dry)  17-<32 g/l
halbtrocken (semi dry) 32-<50 g/l
mild (sweet) > 50 g/l plus


"Trocken" (dry) denotes a wine in which all or nearly all of the natural sugar in the grape juice has been fermented, i.e. converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide. According to the wine law, this includes wines with up to 32 grams/liter of residual (leftover) sugar. The law also prescribes a ratio of residual sugar to total acidity in a dry wine: the maximum acidity permitted is 2 grams/liter less than the residual sugar (formula: acidity + 2 < maximum allowed residual sugar of 9 grams/liter). A dry wine should not be sour. However, high acidity is more perceptible in dry wines.

"Halbtrocken" (literally, "half dry" = off-dry) includes wines with 32-50 grams/liter of residual sugar. The ratio of residual sugar to total acidity in an off-dry wine: the maximum acidity permitted is 10 grams/liter less than the residual sugar (formula: acidity + 10 < maximum allowed residual sugar of 18 grams/liter.)

"Lieblich" (mild, sweeter) denotes wines with a residual sugar of 50 grams/liter or more.

Wines with more than 50 grams/liter of residual sugar can be labeled "süss" or sweet.

The table shows the levels of dryness or sweetness in sparkling wines (differs from the parameters for still wines).



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