Linguistics Lesson: How to Pronounce Those Tricky Wine Names


Elite Daily reporter Kaylin Pound is a self-professed wine expert.  But while one's palate is an indispensable part of one's ability to decipher the forward flavors, subtle hints and dazzling dashes weaved within the profile of a wine, that palate is of no help when it comes to pronouncing the names of the quaffers said drinkers so eloquently describe.

“Let's be real,” Pound wrote. “There is nothing more humiliating that trying to sound like a cultured wine connoisseur as you commit the ultimate foodie faux pas and order a bottle of 'bor-dox' in front of your date.”
Quite proud of her pronunciation list (and rightly so, for it covers nearly every possible wine), pound said farewell to mispronunciations.

“Luckily, your days of butchering wine names will also become a thing of the past because we tracked down all those tricky wine names and paired them with their proper pronunciations,” she wrote. “Thanks to this speech guide, people might actually think you're a chic sommelier rather than gal who just likes to binge on boxed wine in her PJ's every night.”

While “sommelier” may be a stretch, the list will prepare you to confidently say names of wines from a variety of regions and countries.

Perhaps the most surprising pronunciation on the list came early on in the alphabetically-organized litany: Champagne.

The surprise here isn't that most people butcher the name of the French sparkler: “sham-PAIN” is a pretty common pronunciation of the word and is close to the real pronunciation.
The surprising part is that “sham-PAIN” isn't the right pronunciation because most of us leave off the “ya” that comes at the end of the proper way to say the word (“shawm-PAN-ya”) and because we pronounce the second syllable “PAIN” instead of “PAN”

With Champagne cleared up, many wine drinkers can now breathe a sparkling sigh of relief next time they head to a New Year's Eve party.

Not every wine on the list is as popular as Champagne. This is a good thing, though, as pronunciation of German wines and varietals from other countries can come in handy next time you head to your local eatery to peruse the wine list.

For instance, Gewürtztraminer, the mutter of all tongue twisters north of Italy, is pronounced guh-VOORTS-tra-mee-ner.

The list also includes Montepulciano D'Abruzzo, the Italian linguistic beast likely responsible for many a flushed cheek at high-end restaurants (not to mention an utter fear of the Italian language): MON-tae-pul-chee-AH-noh dah-BRUTE-so.

Photo Credit: Pug Girl, Flickr Creative Commons

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  • Snooth User: RandyFisher
    Hand of Snooth
    1073394 1,993

    Soooooooooooo. Where is the list? A link or something would be nice.

    Jun 25, 2015 at 4:49 AM

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