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Experimenting with sweet wine as dosage for English sparkling wine

What if Sauternes, Tawny port or oloroso Sherry are added as dosage, instead of rectified concentrated grape must?

Instead of the usual mixture of base wine and sucrose, Justin Howard-Sneyd MW of Domaine of the Bee is trialling a range of sweet wines as dosage to add an extra twist to his English wines, made in collaboration with Ridgeview.

What is dosage?

For sparkling wines made using the traditional method (méthode Champenoise), dosage is the winemakers’ final touch of adjustment to the fizz in the bottle.

The liquid mixture, or ‘liqueur d’expédition’, is added right after disgorgement, so as to top up the bottle while adding some sweetness, if wanted, to the sparkling wine before final corking.


Spot the difference: Tirage and dosage in Champagne – ask Decanter


Roughly speaking, dosage is composed of sugar (such as rectified concentrated grape must, RCGM) and base wine. Winemakers also have the option to not add any sugar at all, if the bone-dry, ‘zero dosage’ or ‘brut nature‘ style is what they desire.

Sweet wine as dosage

The inspiration of using sweet wine as dosage first came from ‘Champagne cocktails my father used to make for Christmas’, said Justin Howard-Sneyd MW.

He decided to commit to the idea with a more professional approach, after a gathering of Masters of Wines in London which saw people pouring Sauternes into the sparkling wines in their glasses.


Scroll down to see the six tasting notes and scores of the ‘special dosage’ series



See the six tasting notes and scores of the ‘special dosage’ series


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