Wine Pronunciation Guide

Thursday, March 08, 2012    

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In response to several requests by our readers over the past year, I have compiled a short pronunciation guide for the more popular wine terms. I believe it is important, especially if you are in the hospitality business, to be able to pronounce the name of a wine correctly. Although the ability to do so sometimes seems more of an art than a science, particularly if you are expected to do so in the native tongue of the wine's country of origin. I know that it peeves certain individuals to hear wine service teams and waitstaff on the island struggling with the pronunciation of wine names and regions; others may not care, as long as they get the wine they want and it tastes the way they expect it to.

What is very interesting is that while I was in France, I heard a French winery proprietor pronounce the name of his chateau and region one way for an American and an Englishman, and another way for a multilingual European. The English pronunciation of certain letters and words are very different when used in other languages like French and Spanish. While it might be okay not to try to get every single word just right, we should try to get the product names and regions just right.

Below is a list of some of the more popular wine- related words that might pose some difficulty and their corresponding pronunciations:

Beaujolais [boh-zhuh-LAY]

Bordeaux [bohr-DOH]

Burgundy - BURR-gun-dee

Brut [BROOT]

Cabernet Franc [KA-behr-nay FRAHN (FRAHNGH)]

Cabernet Sauvignon [ka-behr-NAY so vihn-YOHN (soh-vee-NYAWN)]

Cava [KAH-vah]

Chablis [sha-BLEE; shah-BLEE]

Chardonnay [shar-don-AY; shar-doh-NAY]

Châteauneauf-du-Pape [shah-toh-nuhf-doo-PAHP]

Chenin Blanc [SHUH-nihn BLAHN (BLAHNGK)]

Côtes du Rhone [koht deu ROHN]

Cuvée [koo-VAY]

Fumé Blanc [FOO-may BLAHN; BLAHNGK]

Gewürztraminer [guh-vurts-TRAH-MEE-NER] . This has other variations like [guh-vurts-TRA-mi-ner]

Grenache [gruh-NAHSH]

Malbec [mahl-behk]

Merlot [mehr-LOH; mer-LOH]

Muscat [MUHS-kat; MUHS-kuht]

Petite Sirah; Petite Syrah [peh-TEET sih-RAH; peh-TEET see-RAH]

Pinot Blanc [PEE-noh BLAHN (BLAHNGK)]

Pinot Gris [PEE-noh GREE]

Pinot Noir [PEE-noh NWAHR]

Pouilly-Fuissé [poo-yee fwee-SAY]

Prosecco [praw-SEHK-koh; proh-SEHK-koh]

Riesling [REEZ-ling; REES-ling]

Rioja [ree-oh-hah] - Natives might pronounce the "J" almost like a G.

Rosé [roh-ZAY]

Sancerre [sahn-SEHR]

Sangiovese [san-joh-VAY-zeh; san-jaw-VAY-zeh]

Sauternes [soh-TEHRN]

Sauvignon Blanc [SOH-vihn-yohn BLAHN; SOH-vee-nyawn BLAHNGK]

Semillon [say-mee-YHON; she-mee-YOHN (Fr. Say-mee-YAWN)] Aussies pronounce it as written

Syrah [see-RAH]

Terroir [teh-RWAHR] or [Tehr- wah]

Verdicchio [vehr-KEEK-kyoh]

Viognier [vee-oh-NYAY]

Meritage - MARE-eh-tedge (rhymes with 'heritage')




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