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 chenin blanc 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 and chenin blanc pronunciation
Let’s get right into it. Most people aren’t going to nail French wine 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 in French. 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” and not pronouncing the wines like an English speaker.
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 like chenin blanc pronunciation.
**Click the little play icon underneath each picture for the wine pronunciation audio that Tom so generously recorded for me. He says each French wine pronunciation 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 the chenin blanc pronunciation:
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!*
Do you have a favorite French wine?
Merci Tom et Diane. I will have to practise with Chenin and Cabernet, otherwise not too bad.
De rien! Have a wonderful week as well!
It is wonderful to know how to pronounce these wine properly. Thank you Diane and Tom.
You’re very welcome, Florence!
Great post Diane,
I don’t think it’s embaraasing at all to misspell wine names, but I have many foreign friends who could use Tom’s help!
Wines really are tricky! 😉
I love french wine…. oh well, I love wine in general but french wine has a special place in my heart for a number of reasons…. I recently visited Bretagne and then visited Nantes…. and their Muscadet was sublime…. I absolutely loved it…..and of course…. I accompanied it with a bunch of oysters……it was a real treat…. And I would drink it by itself any time….. I have tried Muscadets here in the States (I live in AL, and here it is an uncommon finding, so I usually buy it every time I found one) and have never tried one like the one I had in France.
I would love to know how has France changed your teste for wine…. and your opinion about wine in general. Here it is so expensive and often is seen as a luxury item and (particularly in the south) as something bad…. cannot even drink it at the park. And finding somebody who enjoys wine and knows something about it is a challenge here in AL. Born to a european family in South America, I am just an implant here, and wine has been present in my life since I remember, and I have never ceased to learn about it (and enjoy it)….
Finally, I love your blog….. I have been reading it for quite some time…. It has helped me understand many things, allowed me to discover some and confirmed others…..I read it every time I can and I love learning from it. Thanks for writing and sharing. Hugs.
I suggest you also have Tom pronounce “sommelier” because so many get that wrong.