We've all been there, and it's okay. Is it SO-vig-non blanc or Saw-vig-non blanc? (Don’t worry, you’ll find the answer in #10.) We’re here to give you guidance on some of the common wine mispronunciations so you can decide what pronunciations feel most comfortable for your palette. Just remember, as most wines are not created equally, most wines are not pronounced the same. It’s a matter of regional preference and opinion.So after reading this, we encourage you to form your own pronunciations, and more importantly to get tasting! We all drink in the same language after all.
Take a guess: Is it pronounced Shee-rahz or Shee-razz Both, actually. Depending on where you decide to sip this dark purply and slightly spicy wine, the pronunciation will vary. Domestically we say Shee-rahz, which rhymes with the land of Oz, but in Shiraz’s home of Australia, it’s pronounced Shee-razz, which rhymes with pizazz.
This is the same grape as the Shiraz, but the French call it Syrah.While most people pronounce Syrah like the name Sarah/Sara, how do you pronounce it? If you said, " See-rah ," then you would be correct. Even if you didn't get it, now you know--and we're not judging you.
3. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Montepulciano is a favorite red Italian varietal, and when it's followed by d'Abruzzo, that indicates the area in Italy where the grape is grown. Montepulciano is pretty straight forward to pronounce, but how do you say d'Abruzzo? Altogether, the correct pronunciation is mon tae pul chee AH noh dah BRUTE so. (I'm guilty of trying to draw out the "zz"and butchering this amazing wine on many occasions.)
Pouilly-Fuissé comes from France, and is the area responsible for producing some fine white wines in southern Burgundy. This one also might be the most fun to pronounce: pwee fwee say.
This one might top the list of being most commonly mispronounced. For the record, I've had my friend, who speaks fluent German, correct me a million times on this German and Austrian favorite. Don't let the umlaut intimidate you, it's pronounced: geh VAIRTZ trahmee ner.
This one might seem simple, but let's do a group check and make sure we're all saying Rioja correctly: It's ree OH hah.
Perhaps France's most famous sweet wine is also a little tricky to pronounce. If you've been saying the "million" part like, well, the currency, then correct yourself ASAP. If you've been saying Sem-ee-yon,which is the most recognized French pronunciation, then pour yourself another drink.
Notice the accent is not over the "e" in this one. That's because there is a different pronunciation for the Australian version of this same grape, which produces a dry wine down under. The pronunciation is not drastically different, but you'll be seen as a wine guru if you can pronounce the two correctly. The Aussies pronounce it as SEM-eh-lon.
9. Cabernet Sauvignon
You order this wine so much that you might not need any assistance. But if your French is less than stellar, here's a quick lesson for you: It's cab-er-nay-saw-vee-nyon. Say it again. You're getting the hang of it already.
10. Sauvignon Blanc
You might be surprised to hear that almost everyone in the United States is mispronouncing this wine by emphasizing the “c” at the end, like saw-vee-nyon-blohnk. However, the correct way to pronounce this wine is So-veen-yawn BlahN with no "c" at the end. So if you want to sound like a somm and give people something to think about, go ahead and pronounce it the less popular, yet correct way: So-veen-yawn BlahN. Then secretly pat yourself on the back for nailing this one.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Missouri, Katie has lived in Switzerland, Chicago, San Francisco. Brooklyn and Arizona-and prefers to live in close proximity to old vines. Her first job in college was pouring wines and pruning wines at a winery in Augusta, Missouri which was the first designated AVA in American. Since then, Katie has spend several years working in corporate America as a copywriter and content marketer. She now works for herself because "her boss" adheres to a strict unlimited winery vacation policy. Follow her tasting and travel notes: @eieigel.