Wine pronunciation -everyone walks away unscathed
I've never been afraid to blurt out the name of a wine to a waitperson, even before I worked in the industry. Back then, being able to choose a bottle of wine that would satisfy my friends was easier than offering up its correct pronunciation. I would botch the pronunciation once or twice before being corrected in a manner that would cause me to never again forget. (Well, at least for a few months anyway.)
Even now I mispronounce the names of wines and grapes with a reckless kind of grin that drives importers and stuffy know-it-alls crazy. Like the time I called the grape growing region of Monsant, Spain-Monistat. I've pronounced the 'r' at the end of pinot meunier for years. (Even as I write this I hear the incorrect pronunciation in my head, pee-no moon-yair.)
It took me a while to remember how to say Bourgogne. I still cannot say the latter part of Vernaccia di Sangimignano. When I speak of it, I make it to the last word and then I repeat the syllables with an 'i' like a skipping record. Gimi, gimi, gimi…this goes on until someone corrects me or I crack myself up.
So you were hoping that this article would disclose some omnipotent advice for correct pronunciation? Sorry, perhaps someday I'll sit down and catalog all the tricks I've learned to pronounce names like Echézeaux and cinsault. For now, my goal is to let you know it is okay to butcher a name. Regardless of how much eye-rolling and gasps of horror you will endure, no one will die. In fact, no one will even stuffer a scratch. And remember, even the most knowledgeable wine professionals make diction blunders from time to time-oops, I've said too much!
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