How to Pronounce Tongue-Twisting Wines

Wine Enthusiast breaks down the wine world’s toughest tongue twisters so you’ll never have to be speechless around a sommelier again.

Even for the geekiest oenophiles, some wine grapes are just too darn hard to pronounce (Blaufränkisch, anyone?). Wine Enthusiast breaks down the wine world’s toughest tongue twisters and spells them out for you phonetically, so you’ll never have to be speechless around a sommelier again.

Agiorgitiko, aka St. George
Mispronunciation: Ag-ee-org-tee-ko
Sound it out: Ah-yor-YEE-te-ko
One of Greece’s oldest and most important red grapes, Agiorgitiko produces intense, deeply-structured wines.

Mispronunciation: AGG-lee-on-ee-coh
Sound it out: Ahl-YAN-ee-coh
This spice-tinged southern Italian grape produces full-bodied wines, with firm tannins and long-term aging potential.

Alicante Bouschet
Mispronunciation: Ah-lee-con-tay booz-chet
Sound it out: Ah-lee-cont-boo-SHAY
A widely planted French grape used predominantly for blending, this is one of the few varieties of grapes with colored juice (almost all grapes produce clear juice).

Mispronunciation: Blah-fran-kitch
Sound it out: Blahw-FRAHN-keesh
This red Austrian variety produces a tannic, spicy wine, and is also known by its German name, Lemberger.

Châteauneuf du Pape
Mispronunciation: Chat-oh-no-ph dew Pa-pee
Sound it out: Shot-toe-NUF-dew-pahp
A classic French Rhône blend that features any combination of 13 permitted grape varieties.

Mispronunciation: Guh-wur-z-tra-MI-ner
Sound it out: Guh-vurts-TRA-MEE-ner
An intensely aromatic and perfumed white wine, this German varietal succeeds best in cool climate conditions.

Mispronunciation: Hars-leh-veh-el-you
Sound it out: HARSH-leh-veh-LOO
A component of famed Hungarian Tokaji dessert wine, this rare grape is spicy and citrus-like.

Irsai Olivér
Mispronunciation: Err-sigh Oll-eh-ver
Sound it out: Eer-sha-EE ol-eye-air
This aromatic, vegetal Hungarian white table grape is a cross of two other native varieties, with flavors and notes likened to Muscat.

Mispronunciation: Moss-cho-fill-air-oh
Sound it out: Mos-coh-FEE-ler-oh
A Greek white grape with origins in the Peloponnese region, it is often compared to fresh whites from Alsace, France, like Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris.

Txakoli, or txakolina
Mispronunciation: T-ax-CAH-lee or t-ax-CAH-lee-na
Sound it out: Chock-OH-lee or chock-oh-LEE-na
This lean and acidic white hails from Spain’s Basque Country, with notes of salinity and sea air.

Mispronunciation: “Uh, what?”
Sound it out: Zuh-REL-o
This aromatic and acidic white grape is one of the three grapes that make up Spanish Cava.

Mispronunciation: Vye-og-nee-air
Sound it out: Vee-own-YAY
A classic French grape that can be adapted to different styles of winemaking, producing fresh, aromatic wine or a fuller, quaffable alternative to oaky Chardonnay.

Published on May 16, 2013
Topics: Wine 101, Wine Basics
About the Author
Joseph Hernandez

Hernandez is a Chicago-based writer and editor obsessed with wine, food and being an oft-misguided know-it-all. WSET certified, his work has appeared in various print and digital publications, including National Geographic's Intelligent Travel blog, Food RepublicModern Luxury's Men's Book and Chef Marcus Samuelsson's blog. When he's not drinking Champagne or funky Loire Valley reds, you can find Hernandez documenting his latest meal or day trip on Instagram.

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