From Vine to wine
‘Dosage’ is the last step before final corking. This is the addition of a small quantity of ‘liqueur de dosage’ to the wine – also known as the ‘liqueur d’expédition’
Dosage liqueur generally contains 500-750 grams of sugar per litre. The quantity added varies according to the style of Champagne:
"Brut nature", "pas dosé" ou "dosage zéro" contains zero dosage and less than 3 grams sugar per litre
The role of dosage in the wine’s sensory development varies according to the style of Champagne. If the winemaker is happy with the wine as it stands, the liqueur de dosage will consist of a mixture of sugar and the same wine as the bottle holds.
Alternatively, if a final additional touch of aroma is thought desirable, the liqueur de dosage may be made with a reserve wine – great Champagne wines set aside for long aging in casks, barrels or even magnums. These add an extra dimension to the winemaker’s repertory of flavours, creating a palette of flavours from which to choose the perfect finishing touch. A few months before dosage, winemakers experiment with different liqueurs, finally selecting the one with the most complementary characteristics.
To help the consumer choose, Champagne labels are legally required to state the wine’s level of sweetness (dosage)