701.4 Wine Words: Demystified

Wine fairs are an excellent venue to discover wines and learn about regions and pronunciations since the producers are often present to share their knowledge.

Even the most seasoned wine drinkers can’t pronounce properly the names of regions and vineyards. This list contains many of the commonly mis-pronounced words.

Pronunciation of all those ‘difficult’ foreign wine words and what they mean

The Word How it’s pronounced What it means
Alsace al zass Wine region in NE France
Aloxe Corton ar loss kawr ton Sub region of Burgundy
Araujo ah rao ho Name of a cult wine of California
Auslese ours lazay Sweet wine made from ultra ripe raisins
Appellation controlee ar pehl lah see on kon troh lay Regional wine QC standard
Barbera bahr bear rah Widely planted grape in Italy
Beaujolais boh jhoe lay Wine region in mid South of France
Bordeaux boar doh Wine region in Western France
Bourgogne boor guh nya Burgundy
Brouilly broo yee Sub region of Beaujolais
Bourgeuil bor goyee Sub region of Loire
Cabernet Sauvignon cair ber nay sew vee nyon Red Grape variety
Chablis shah blee Burgundy sub-region; steely white wines
Chardonnay shar doh nay White grape variety
Chateau shah toe ‘castle’ or large traditional winery in France
Chenin Blanc shen in blonk White grape variety
Chianti kee ahn tee Wine region of Italy
Cote de beaune coat deh bone Sub region of Burgundy
Cote de nuits coat deh nwee Sub region of Burgundy
Chiroubles shi roo blay Sub region of Beaujolais
Clos klo Vineyard that is enclosed by low stone walls
Colheita col yate ah Port vintage, wine aged in wood for 7+ yrs.
Cote coat ‘Side of’ or hillside
Domaine Leroy doe main leerwah A benchmark Burgundy producer
Entre deux Mers arn tree doh mair Crisp white wine of Bordeaux
Echezeaux lay shuh zoh Famous red Burgundy vineyard
Grenache gre narsh Red grape variety
Haut Brion oat bree on A grand cru wine of Bordeaux
Haut Medoc oat may dok A region of Bordeaux
Hermitage er mee targ Sub region of Rhone
Henschke hench kee Famous top producer in South Australia
Lafite Rothschild la feet roth shield A grand cru wine of Bordeaux
Languedoc Rousillon long ger doc roo see yon Region of Southern France
Loire lo-awr Region of NW France
Meursault mur soh Famous white wine/sub-region of Burgundy
Macon mar kon Famous white wine/sub-region of Burgundy
Margaux mah goh Sub-region of Bordeaux/grand cru wine
Nuits St. Georges nwee sen jorg Sub region of Burgundy
Neuchatel noi sha tell Swiss wine region/name of lake
Pauillac poy yac Sub-region of Bordeaux
Penedes perne dias Spanish region
Pessac Leognan pear sarc leo nyon Sub-region of Bordeaux
Pfalz farlz Southern wine region of Germany
Pinot Grigio pee noh gree joe White grape variety in Italy
Pinot Gris pee noh gree White grape variety, same as Pinot Grigio
Pinot Noir pee noh nu-ah Red grape variety/style of Burgundy
Pouilly Fuisse pwee few say Sub region in Burgundy, France
Pouilly Fume pwee few may Sub region in Loire, France
Puligny Montrachet poo lig nee mon ra shay Famous white Burgundy region
Qualitatswein kal lee tets vine German wine classification level
Ribera del Deuro ree bear ah dell dee oh roh Spanish wine region
Rhienhessen ryan hess ehn German wine region
Riesling rees leng Famous white wine variety
Rioja reo ha Famous region in Spain
Rully roo yee White/red wine sub region of Burgundy
Sancerre sorn sair Wine region in NW France
Sangiovese san joe vay see Italian red wine variety (2nd most important)
Sauternes saw turn Sweet dessert wine/region in Bordeaux
Semillon sem ee yon White grape variety
Shiraz shee raz Red grape variety grown in Australia
Syrah see rah Grape variety of Rhone, similar to shiraz
Spumante spew mun ti Slightly sweet Italian sparkling wine
Soave so are vay White wine style/region of Italy
St. Emilion sant erh meal yon Sub region of Bordeaux
St. Estephe sant ers steff Sub region of Bordeaux
Tempranillo tem phra nyoh Spanish grape variety
Tete de Cuvee tat deh koo vay Top of line sparkling wine from a producer
Terroir tehr wah unique growing condition/microclimate/soil
Trotanoy trot ahn wah Famous wine of Pomerol in Bordeaux
Vacqueyras vah keh raas Sub region of Rhone
Valais vah leigh Swiss wine region
Valpolicalla val po lee cheela Italian wine region/style
Vendange tarvive vahn dange tah deev Late harvest; often refers to sweet wine
Villages vee large Village
Viognier vee oh nay White grape variety
Vielle vignes vee eh veen yeh Denotes old vines and superior wine
Vosne Romanee vo neh roh mah neigh Sub region, Burgundy
Vouvray voo vray White wine region, NW France
Zwiegelt zooai gaelt Austria’s most widely planted red grape