Have you ever scanned a restaurant’s wine menu only to nervously wonder how on earth you’re supposed to pronounce the name of the wine when it comes time to order? You try to practice a few options under your breath, but at the very last moment you order a Coke to save yourself the embarrassment of a flubbed pronunciation in front of new friends or colleagues.
Back in the US, it’s no big deal if you botch the name of the wine. Others around you are probably doing the same thing. Besides, you could always just point to the one you want. But if you’re visiting France and want to get the name of the wine right, this post is for you… Tom’s joining me today and together we’re cluing you in on how to pronounce French wines.
How to pronounce French wines
Let’s get right into it. Most people aren’t going to nail the French pronunciation and sound exactly like Tom (if you’re new around here, Tom is my French husband who makes an appearance here from time to time), but just do your best. Below you’ll find out how to pronounce French wines like a French person. But be warned, if you get too fancy and bust out your perfect French pronunciation somewhere other than in France, your friends might tease you for being “so French.”
Some of the words below are regions, grapes and wine types — all words you’ll want to get right! (but if you don’t, it’s no big deal. At least you tried!). And by no means is this an all-inclusive list. Just a few of my faves.
**Click the little play icon underneath each picture for the audio that Tom so generously recorded for me. He says each word twice — the first time is at regular speed and the second is slower so you can hear the sounds better. ;-)**
How to pronounce French wines:
The green-skinned sauvignon blanc grape is found in Bordeaux, the Loire Valley and other regions and is used to make white wines. It is now grown worldwide. I love New Zealand’s sauvignon blancs too. Here’s how you say it.
I’m staying local here with this grape variety that calls the Loire Valley home. It’s been cultivated for about 1,300 years and is used to make Vouvray and other varieties. Here’s how to say it:
Originally from Burgundy, chardonnay is everyone’s favorite white wine. Is it yours? Say it the right way:
From the Nantes area, this dry, light-bodied white wine is a must-try if you’re ever in my ‘hood.
Everyone knows about the world’s favorite bubbly! Tom cringes every time I say Cham-payne like the American that I am. It’s named after the region Champagne and you say it like this:
France has several varieties of Crémant but my biased favorite is the one from the Loire, where I live. It comes in white and rosé and is an affordable choice for New Year’s, apéro or whenever. I wrote more about Cremant here. You say it like this:
This red wine grape variety is well-known and now found pretty much all over the world. Say it like a pro:
The Cotes du Rhône wines were officially recognized in 1937, and this appellation produces some wonderful Grenache (red and rosé) and Grenache blanc (white). Say it right:
Pinot noir grapes are found in several regions of France and the world. Say it the right way:
One wine I don’t really enjoy is merlot because I just find it a little strong. This dark grape that looks almost black and is used in a variety of blended wines as well. Here’s how to say it:
See, learning how to pronounce French wines is no big deal. Easy, right?
*Let me know if you found this helpful, and if so, please share!*