Picture this… you’re on a first date, all is going pretty well. You’re feeling optimistic, you’re at a nice restaurant, and your date suggests you choose the wine. Picking up the wine list, your blood runs cold… Gewürztraminer? Châteauneuf-du-Pape?!
It can be a bit hard to order something you don’t know how to pronounce, and it’s probably happened to all of us at one point or another. It’s especially hard when you’re trying to make a good impression - whether that’s a date scenario, or you’re at a business event, and want to pass off that you know what you’re talking about!
Never fear! We’ve scoured the most common names and varieties, so you can order whichever glass or bottle you like, with reckless abandon (and moderation, of course).
Alsace (Ahl-sass) - Vineyard region in northeastern France
Brut (Broot) - A dry, sparkling wine (also seen as extra brut or brut natural)
Beaujolais (Bo-zho-lay) - A red wine region of Burgundy, also a fruity-style French wine
Bordeaux (Bor-doh) - Major city in France, and its wine-growing region
Bourgogne (Boor-gonn-yeh) - A wine from the Chablis region in France
Cabernet Sauvignon (Ka-ber-nay So-veen-yon) - A common, deep-flavoured red wine, can be amongst the finest reds. Typically pairs well with red meat
Chablis (shah-blee) - A French white wine made from Chardonnay grapes
Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Shah-toe-NEF-doo-parp) - A red wine, from the region of the same name in France
Chianti (Kee-yahn-tee) - A famous red wine from Tuscany
Eiswein (Ice-vine) - A sweet dessert wine made with partially frozen grapes
Gewürztraminer (geh-vairtz-trah-mee-ner) - An aromatic white wine that grows best in cooler climates
Grüner Veltliner (Grew-ner velt-lee-ner) - An Austrian dry white wine also produced in the USA
Merlot (Mer-low) - A lighter and softer style red wine
Pinot Grigio (Pee-noh gree-joe) - A white wine with crisp, citrus flavors - the same grape as Pinot Gris, but produced in the Italian style with lighter, fresher notes
Pinot Gris (Pee-noh gree) - The same grape as Pinot Grigio, but French-style, which is slightly different. Pinot Gris is typically rich and often sweet, with tropical fruit overtones
Pinot Noir (Pee-noh-nwahr) - A widely-produced red wine with typically berry flavours
Reisling (Rees-ling) - A sweeter white, typically light and easy to drink
Rioja (Ree-oh-hah) - A blend of different grape varieties from the Rioja region in Spain
Rosé (Ro-zay) - Literally meaning ‘pink’ or ‘rosy’ in French, Rosé is
Saumur (So-mure) - A white wine from the Loire Valley in France
Sauternes (So-turn) - A French sweet wine from the Sauternais region
Semillon (Seh-mee-yohn) - A golden-skinned grape making dry, sweet white wines
Sangiovese (San-joe-veh-see) - Popular Italian wine, also the base grape for many other wines
Sauvignon Blanc (So-veen-yon blahngk) - A popular dry, light-bodied white wine
Syrah (See-rah) - Another name for Shiraz (can depend on region as to what it’s called)
Tempranillo (Tem-prah-nee-yo) - A full-bodied red wine, originating from Spain
Just in case you aren’t a Champagne pro, we’ve compiled a handy list of hints to up your game – with plenty of time before the festive season kicks off this year to get you into the groove!
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