Learn How To Pronounce Wine Names: A Definitive Guide

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How To Pronounce Wine Names

Many wine names are hard to read, so how do you say them correctly? Just like anything else in life, it's essential to be able to communicate effectively. 

If you're going on a date and want the waiter or sommelier at your favorite restaurant to understand how much you love their selections, they'll need an accurate pronunciation.

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How are Wines Named?

You can see the wine name when going through the bottle label. When it comes to naming this beverage, one of two approaches can be taken. 

One is by identifying where the grape originated and what varietals were used in its creation. For centuries, the location where a specific wine is produced has been deeply ingrained in its name.

In Europe, it was not uncommon for wines to have the names derived from a specific place of origin, like in some French wines named from French wine regions. However, this practice differs significantly outside of Europe as many countries do not make or produce enough wine varieties on such a large scale.

Wine Names Pronunciation Guide

French Wines

three glasses of wine with France's flag

  • Alsace (al-zass)

The Alsace region is a definite must-visit for wine lovers. The wines are all about aroma and flavor nuances and are rich in texture from the moderate alcohol content.

  • Beaujolais (boh-jhoe-lay)

Beaujolais is light-bodied and has an acidic, fruity flavor. Beaujolais often includes various red berries that make up the delicious taste, such as raspberry, cherry, cranberry, or currant flavors.

  • Bordeaux (bor-dow)

A Bordeaux red wine is full of earthy notes and fruit. It starts with a pleasant mineral taste, but as you drink it, the tannins on your tongue make this difficult to swallow.

  • Bourgeuil (bor-guh’y)

Bourgueil wine is a famous red and the signature of the Bourgueil area. This commune produces some of France's most renowned wines, with Cabernet Franc as their main grape.

  • Bourgogne (boor-guh-nyuh) or Burgundy (bur-guhn-dee)

Bourgogne or Burgundy is one of France's main wine regions, known for its red and white wines. The region produces mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, respectively, and has a range of grape varieties.

  • Brut (Broot)

Brut, which means dry in French, refers to both a term used to describe Champagne and a specific style of wine. This can be seen in some Champagne bottle labels. 

  • Cabernet Franc (cab-err-nay fronk)

Cabernet Franc is a delicate yet sturdy red wine with flavors that are reminiscent of bell peppers. It provides the perfect balance between acidity and tannin content.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon (cab-er-nay saw-vee-nyon)

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are a hearty red grape varietal best known for their thick and tough skin and the vine's resistance to harsh conditions.

  • Chablis (shah-blee)

Chablis wines are well known for refreshing citrus and white flower aromas, with a dry yet light-bodied taste.

  • Champagne (Sham-payn)

Champagne is a sparkling wine that exclusively comes from only the Champagne region of France. The drink, which often contains blends of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, can get its bubbles through an additional fermentation in bottles.

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  • Chardonnay (shar-doh-nay)

Chardonnay has long been the world's most popular white wine. The versatile grape can adapt well in various climates, producing wines at many different price points.

  • Châteauneuf-du-Pape (shah-toe-nuf dew pahp)

Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines are well known and loved among the French, with an array of both reds and whites to choose from.

  • Chenin Blanc (shen-in blahnk)

The Chenin Blanc grape variety is thought to have originated in France 1,300 years ago, and it has been popularized by the country's Loire Valley. It's often used for sweet dessert wines.

  • Chinon (she-nohn)

Chinon wine is a product of the Cabernet Franc grape and has many different qualities depending on where it was grown.

  • Côte d’Or (coat dor)

The famed Côte d’Or is widely regarded for its prestigious wine production. Here, the rich soil and south-facing slopes are protected by the Morvan hills to create a perfect climate.

  • Côte de Beaune (coat deh bone)

The Côte de Beaune is a stretch of land in Burgundy where some of the most famous types of wines are grown. The region takes its name from the important town and wine center of Beaune.

  • Côtes du Rhône ('Kot du Ron)

The Côtes du Rhône Cru wines represent the highest quality level of wine. They are produced from individual terroirs in mountainous granite vineyards and hilly, rocky soils in the south with vines spanning generations old.

  • Côte Rôtie (coat roe tee)

Cote Rotie is a famous wine region in the Northern Rhone with some of the best Syrah wines you will ever taste. The deep, ruby-red color gives these young and long-term investments their unique flavor.

  • Cuvée (coo-vay)

One of the most sought-after wines on the market is Cuvee. They’re made with grapes from vineyards that produce only the highest quality and are often aged in barrels for a long time before they ever reach your favorite wine cabinet or wine cart.

  • Gamay (ga-may)

Gamay is a delicate, flavorful red wine similar to Pinot Noir in taste and has floral aromas of citrus fruit like grapefruit or lemon with subtle earthy notes.

  •  Gewürztraminer (geh-vairtz-trah-mee-ner)

Gewürztraminer wines are a rare find, as it is an ancient grape varietal that has been cultivated in Alsace for hundreds of years. Along with being delicate and light-bodied, Gewürztraminers contain high levels of acidity.

  • Languedoc-Roussillon (laang-daak roo-see-own)

The regions of Languedoc and Roussillon are a collection of coastal Mediterranean swaths in South France, spanning from Provence to the Pyrenees at Spain's border.

  • Loire (lwahr)

The wine classification systems that dictate what grapes are grown in the Loire Valley have molded the landscape of this region, shaping it into one with a variety of wines to choose from and enjoy today.

  • Malbec (maal-bek)

Malbec wine is dark and seductive. Its deep purple color mesmerizes the senses, while its rich, fruity flavors make your mouth water for more. 

  • Merlot (mer-loh)

Merlot may seem like a simple wine, but it has surprisingly complex and intricate flavors. It is made from red-skinned grapes that can adapt to different climates with its food-friendly taste profile.

  • Moët (moh ett)

This wine offers an interesting and complex nose that combines smoky, slightly reductive aromas. It also comes with hints of citrus and ripe fruit.

  • Muscadet (moos-cah-day)

This wine has a light, crisp taste from its high acidity and lack of sweetness. Expect to be able to pick out notes like lime or lemon instantly on your first sip.

  • Pinot Gris (pee-noh-gree) or Pinot Grigio (pee-noh-gree-joe)

Pinot Gris grapes are light grey with a tinge of blue and purple. The name "Pinot Gris" comes from the French term for gray, "gris,” but it is officially considered a white grape despite its appearance. It can also be found in Italy, where it's known as Pinot Grigio.

  • Pinot Noir (pee-noh nwahr)

Pinot Noir is unquestionably the most diverse red wine on the planet, famous among connoisseurs and budding oenophiles who are always looking for new flavors and old favorites.

  • Quincy (Kwin-see)

The village of Quincy is in the east region of France, and it's known for its dry white wines made from Sauvignon Blanc. The classic wine found there has a high acidity which makes them refreshing as well!

  • Rosé (Ro-zay)

Rosé is a light and refreshing wine perfect for any time of year. It can be made from different grapes, but most rosés are created with lighter grape varieties such as Grenache.

  • Sancerre (sahn-sair)

Sancerre wines are typically dry, with racy acidity. You might find tangy citrus flavors as well as stone fruit notes, but there will also be subtle smoky undertones.

  • Sauternes (sow-turnz)

The Sauternes region of France is famous for its sweet, delicious wines. When they are made from the rare white grapes that can only be grown in this area, it offers a distinctly exceptional taste and character.

  • Sauvignon Blanc (saw-vee-nyon blahnk)

Sauvignon Blanc wine grapes are famous for their light and dry flavor, perfect to pair with seafood. The grape originated in Bordeaux but now thrives in some regions all over the world.

  • Semillon (seh-mee-yohn)

Semillon is a white grape that hails from the Bordeaux region of France, which offers a fantastic flavor experience when produced in premium Australian areas.

  • Shiraz (Shir-azz)

Shiraz wines are known for deep, rich flavors with a slightly acidifying presence. The grape's fruity taste is unmistakable and will fill your mouth with red pepper spice that dances on the tongue, then at the back palate.

  • Syrah (sih-rah)

Syrah is one of those wines that you either love or hate due to its intense flavor profile and robustness. If you're looking for something with enough kick to keep your senses awake, then this wine might be right up your alley!

  • Valdiguié (val-di-gay)

With its dark purple color, Valdiguié is a wine to be reckoned with. The flavor of this unique blend includes red cherry and blackberry that are accented by pomegranate, pepper notes, and clove spice.

  • Viognier (vee-own-yay)

Viognier is a grape that comes in the south of France. This wine has a delicious taste with hints of vanilla and cream, making it perfect for cooler weather! The perfumed aromas make this wine stand out from other white wines.

  • Vouvray (voo-vray)

The wines of Vouvray vary in style, from dry to sweet and still to sparkling - each with its own distinct character and flavor profile.

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Italian Wines

Wine bottles in baskets with Italy's Flag

  • Amarone (ah-mah-roh-nay)

Amarone is a wine with deep flavors and aromas that will complement your palate. You'll enjoy the rich black cherry, pipe tobacco, chocolate notes of this full-bodied wine on its own or paired with food.

  • Arneis (ahr-nase)

Arneis is a white wine grape variety that hails from Italy's famous Piedmont region. The vine was on the verge of extinction, but now it has something of a revival because many people are interested in this lesser-known varietal.

  • Asti Spumante (ah-stee spoo-mahn-tee)

Asti Spumante is a refreshing white wine produced from natural Moscato Bianco grapes. This light beverage has been crafted for generations around the northern Italian region of Piedmont and as one of Italy's most famous wines.

  • Barbera (bar-beh-ra)

Barbera is characterized by the sweet aromas of luscious fruit and low tannin content. It's perfect for those looking to avoid dry wines with high acidity because it has just enough in both categories.

  • Barbaresco (bar-ba-ress-ko)

Barbaresco is a special type of red wine made from the Nebbiolo grape found in northwest Italy. This particular variety requires aging before it can reach its full potential.

  • Bardolino (bar-doh-lee-no)

From its deep ruby red color to the fruity notes of cherry, strawberry, and raspberry with spicy undertones of black pepper and cinnamon, Bardolino wine is an elegant blend that will leave you longing for more.

  • Barolo (bah-ro-lo)

Barolo is a red wine that leaves your mouth tingling in the most pleasant way. The distinctive grape varietal, Nebbiolo, produces wines with such high acidity and tannins.

  • Brunello (bru-neh-lo)

If you are looking for a delicious, rich red wine with notes of wild berry, licorice, star anise, and leather, Brunello di Montalcino is your best bet. It takes its name from the Italian word “Bruno,” which means brown or dark in color. 

  • Canaiolo (cahn-eye-oh-loh)

Canaiolo is the wine grape of many wines in central Italy. It's most notable because it was the main component of this famous Italian blend up until the late 19th Century and still makes its way into Sangiovese-based drinks as a versatile blending agent.

  • Carmignano (car-mee-nyah-no)

The first thing you'll notice about Carmignano wines are the dry fruit flavors that come from a standard modern Tuscan blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo Nero, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. 

  • Chianti (key-ahn-tee)

Chianti is a ruby red wine produced primarily with Sangiovese grapes in the Chianti region of Tuscany. It has an acidic aroma and tart taste due to its high level of tannin as well as cherry notes from earthy flavors.

  • Dolcetto (dohl-chet-oh)

Dolcetto grapes have an intense, dark red color and make sweet and fruity wines that come in deep ruby or purple hues. 

  • Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (mon-tae-pul-chee-ah-noh dah-brute-so)

Montepulciano, with its deep color and robust tannins, is a wine to be savored. The flavors are intense, and the aromas are rich in pepper spice and tobacco. It has a high acidity that gives it an edge.

  • Moscato d'Asti (mo-scah-toe dahs-tee)

You'll be pleasantly surprised by the flavors of Moscato d'Asti. This sweet, lightly sparkling wine is low in alcohol and versatile enough to pair well with many dishes.

  • Nebbiolo (Nebby-oh-low)

Nebbiolo is a full-bodied, robust wine that shares qualities with Pinot in the way it looks. Nebbiolo wines are translucent, and the tannins will make their presence known but not be overly harsh.

  • Orvieto (or-vee-ae-toh)

The wine-producing region of Umbria, Italy, is best known for its Orvieto wines. The area has a history as proud and rich in culture as it does grapes, with the industry playing an essential role since hundreds of years ago.

  • Soave (swah-vay)

The deliciously fruity and aged Soave wine is a must-taste. This Italian white wine made from Garganega grapes grown right around the medieval town of Soave, Northern Italy, will be sure to please your taste buds.

  • Sangiovese (san-joe-vay-se)

The dark-berried Sangiovese is the most widely planted grape variety in Italy. It can be compared to Tuscany's rich red wines, and it has been used to make some of Italy’s favorite drinks, like Brunello di Montalcino.

  • Trebbiano (tre-byohn-oh)

Trebbiano Toscano is a quintessential Italian white wine varietal. You may not be as familiar with it, but this grape variety ranks in the top 10 for most planted grapes worldwide. It's used to make table wines and more commonly seen brands, like Armagnac and Cognac, respectively.

  • Valpolicella (val-po-lee-chel-lah)

The Valpolicella wines are so fun because they're flavorful but not too heavy or intense like some other sweeter dessert wines can be. Plus, their mouthfeel is just amazing!

  • Verdicchio (ver-dee-key-oh)

Verdicchio has been used for hundreds of years to produce both light and complex wines. Light and easy-drinking versions are perfect as a table wine, while the more substantial examples age well with time to become more flavorful.

Spanish Wines

Red wine with glasses with grapes with Spain's flag

  • Albariño (alba-reen-yo)

The Albariño grape is the perfect summer wine. It's got a hint of saltiness and acidity that makes it refreshing but not too tart. The white wine also has rich stone fruit flavors.

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  • Galicia (gah-leeth-ee-ah)

Galicia is home to a hidden gem of wine known as Rias Baixas. These wines are crisp and aromatic, made predominantly from Albarino grapes that grow in the region's sandy soils. 

  • Grenache (gruh-nosh)

Grenache, one of the most-produced wine grapes in France and Spain, can be found all over Australia and America as well. This variety is adaptable to many styles of winemaking because it's so versatile.

  • Macabeo (mah-cah-bey-oh)

Macabeo wines are a fantastic option for those who enjoy oak-aged wine’s rich, robust flavor and texture. These wines can be fruity and aromatic with fresh floral notes and nutty undertones when harvested early enough.

  • Mourvèdre (moo-ved-dra)

A grape that is most famously used to make red wine, Mourvèdre has a reputation for producing wines with rich flavors and meaty textures. It's commonly found in France as well as Spain.

  • Pedro Ximénez (ped-ro hee-me-nez)

When Pedro Ximénez is made, grapes are left to overripen on the vine. These dried-up grapes have a higher sugar concentration than most wines, and when these sugars get more concentrated, they start breaking down into alcohol.

  • Rioja (ree-oh-hah)

Rioja is an elegant wine that is not only great for a hearty meal but it's also perfect with seafood. Rioja tastes dark berries and high acidity which becomes more intense when the grapes are oaked and aged in barrels.

  • Sherry (sheh-ree)

Sherry is a fortified wine that has been around for centuries. Back in the day, it was typically dry and made to be an everyday drink. It wasn't until recent years when people started making it sweeter.

  • Tempranillo (tem-prah-nee-yoh)

Tempranillo is a variety of grape that gives some of the best wines in Spain and Portugal. While it's most famous for being the backbone of many Spanish sparkling wine blends, Tempranillo has also successfully infiltrated Argentina and California with rich reds bursting with flavor.

  • Verdejo (ver-day-ho)

Verdejo wine is a popular grape variety in Spain and originates from North Africa, making its way to Rueda around the 11th century.

Portuguese Wines

Glass and bottle of wine, candles with Portugal's flag

  • Tawny Port (taa·nee port)

Tawny has a rich mahogany hue and tastes like caramel, chocolate, dried fruit, nuts, and other flavors. This is because Tawny spends most of their time aging in wooden casks just as whiskey does.

  • Vinho Verde (veen-yo vaird)

Vinho Verde is a Portuguese wine typically made from native grapes and goes straight to the shelves without aging. This means you get an unfiltered, refreshing taste of Portugal in each wine glass!

Austrian Wine

white wine bottle, corks, corkscrew, and Austria's flag

  • Grüner Veltliner (grew-ner velt-lee-ner)

Gruner Veltliner wine grapes make wines with vibrant, zesty flavors and minerality, which emanate an almost electric sense of freshness in the mouth.

South African Wine

wine bottle in a basket, grapes, corkscrew with South Africa's flag

  • Pinotage (pee-noh-tahj)

Pinotage is a high-sugar, full-bodied grape with bold fruit flavors from its dark and ripe taste. Pinotage's smoky finish creates an earthy flavor for those who enjoy it the most!

German Wines

red and white wine bottle with Germany's flag

  • Rheinhessen (ryne-hess-ehn)

Rheinhessen produces white wine from a variety of grapes, including the world-famous Riesling grape. This area is best known for Liebfraumilch.

  • Riesling (reese-ling)

Growers have found that while Riesling has a tough personality and is surprisingly flexible. The variety thrives in dry areas and can handle hotter climates well.

  • Trockenbeerenauslese (troh-ken-beh-rin-ahws-lay-zuh)

The Trockenbeerenauslese translates to "dry berry selection" and is a nectarine-sweet and expensive dessert wine. This category of wine has the highest level of sweetness in German wines.

Californian Wines

wine with cheese, grape, nuts, with California's flag

  • Meritage (mary-taj)

Meritage wines are an exceptional combination that brings out some of your favorite flavors from each category into something new entirely - like never before seen crossings between red and white wine.

  • Paso Robles (pa-sow row-blez)

Paso Robles wines are surprising in that they have such a crisp backbone of acidity despite their high alcohol levels and sweet-fruited flavors. These reds make for an opulent drinking experience.

Greek Wines

Corkscrew and bottle of wine with Greece's flag

  • Agiorgitiko (ah-yor-yee-ti-ko)

Agiorgitiko grapes were cultivated in the Peloponnese peninsula. It has been long used by Greeks to make wine and goes by many synonyms like Xinomavro.

  • Assyrtiko (ah-seer-tee-ko)

Assyrtiko is a grape that originated on the island of Santorini and has become one of Greece's most well-known white wine grapes. It produces light, refreshing wines with flavors reminiscent of citrus fruits.

  • Moschofilero (mow-sko-feel-err-oh)

The Moschofilero grape is known for its wide range of flavors. Grown in the Peloponnese region of Mantinia, this pink-skinned white wine ranges from light and delicate to exotic and spicy with a scent that can be either sweet or tangy.

  • Xinomavro (ksee-noh-mah-vroh)

The Xinomavro grape is a red wine that originates in the uplands of Naousa and around Amyntaio. This wine usually has hints of dried with herbs, has a strong aftertaste of licorice, and can even taste like olives. 

Conclusion

Learning how to pronounce wine names can be intimidating, but with this pronunciation guide and a little practice, you’ll be saying your favorite wine names like a true connoisseur in no time.

Did this blog make your journey into trying new wines more approachable? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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  • Peggy on

    Great message


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