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Understanding a Champagne Label

Understanding a Champagne Label

How to read a Champagne label, and actually understand it.

If you have ever looked at a Champagne label you’ve no doubt seen a variety of abbreviations. What do they all mean?  These little abbreviations can tell you a lot about what’s in the bottle.

To help decode your next Champagne label we’ve pulled together a  list of Champagne labeling terms. Cheers and happy sipping!

  • A cuvée de prestige is a proprietary blended wine
  • NV: Non Vintage. Blended across vintages to produce a specific house style.
  • NM: Négociant manipulant. These companies (including the majority of the larger brands) buy grapes and make the wine
  • CM: Coopérative de manipulation. Cooperatives that make wines from the growers who are members, with all the grapes pooled together
  • RM: Récoltant manipulant. (Also known as Grower Champagne) A grower that also makes wine from its own grapes (a maximum of 5% of purchased grapes is permitted). Note that co-operative members who take their bottles to be disgorged at the co-op can now label themselves as RM instead of RC
  • SR: Société de récoltants. An association of growers making a shared Champagne but who are not a co-operative
  • RC: Récoltant coopérateur. A co-operative member selling Champagne produced by the co-operative under its own name and label
  • MA: Marque auxiliaire or Marque d’acheteur. A brand name unrelated to the producer or grower; the name is owned by someone else, for example a supermarket
  • ND: Négociant distributeur. A wine merchant selling under his own name

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  • Extra Brut (less than 6 grams of sugar per litre)
  • Brut (less than 12 grams)
  • Extra Dry (between 12 and 17 grams)
  • Sec (between 17 and 32 grams)
  • Demi-sec (between 32 and 50 grams)
  • Doux (50 grams)
  • Goût anglais (“English taste”, between 22 and 66 grams); note that today goût anglais refers to aged vintage Champagne
  • Goût américain (“American taste”, between 110 and 165 grams)
  • Goût français (“French taste”, between 165 and 200 grams)
  • Goût russe (“Russian taste”, between 200 and 300 grams)

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Simone Spinner

Simone FM Spinner, CWS MH

Simone FM Spinner is a wine writer, consultant, judge, speaker, and published author. She is a certified sommelier with 13 advanced wine certifications, a bachelor’s and master’s degree in wine studies, and is pursuing her doctorate researching wine, climate change, and legacy. She is the Women of the Vine & Spirits 2020 WSET Diploma scholar.