French Wine Pronunciation

How to pronounce the names of French wines

French wine
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If you love French wine but hate ordering it, here's a page that can help. This list of French wines and related vocabulary includes sound files to help you pronounce the names of French wines. A la vôtre !

le vin   wine

le vin blanc   white wine

le vin rosé   rosé wine

le vin rouge   red wine

un verre   glass

une bouteille   bottle

une dégustation de vin   wine tasting
   (learn more)

French Wines


Beaujolais nouveau


Bourgogne   (burgundy)

Cabernet sauvignon




Chenin blanc





Pinot blanc

Pinot gris

Pinot noir





Sauvignon blanc


St Émilion



Go on to page 2 to learn some French wine tasting terms.

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French Expressions

Now that you know how to pronounce French wine and have ordered it, what next? There is a whole science to wine, called oenology, that analyzes everything from making wine to tasting wine. The latter is the most important part for consumers, so here are some terms to help you talk about what you're drinking.

La dégustation de vin, or wine tasting, can be summed up into three steps.

1. La robe - Appearance
Before you take even one sip, look at the wine and consider its color, clarity, and consistency.

Here are some French terms to help you describe what you see.

La couleur - Color
In addition to obvious colors like rouge (red) and blanc (white), you might see

  • ambré - amber
  • brun - brown
  • carmin - crimson
  • cuivré - coppery
  • doré - golden
  • jaunâtre - yellowish
  • orangé - orangey
  • paille - straw
  • pourpre - scarlet
  • rose saumon - salmon pink
  • rubis - ruby
  • verdâtre - greenish
  • violacé - purplish
And you might want to modify the colors with
  • clair - light
  • foncé - dark
  • pâle - pale
  • profond - deep
La clarté - Clarity
  • brillant - brilliant
  • brumeux - misty
  • clair - clear
  • cristallin - crystal-clear
  • opaque - opaque
  • un reflet - glint
  • terne - dull
  • trouble - muddy
La consistance - Consistency
You'll consider this again in the tasting phase, but while looking, you might notice things like
  • des bulles - bubbles
  • des dépôts - sediment
  • des jambes, larmes - "legs" or "tears"; how the wine flows down the sides of the glass
  • de la mousse - foam, bubbles
    2. Le nez - Smell
    After describing the appearance of the wine, it's time to sniff and smell, then discuss les arômes. This is where wine tasters get really creative - the sky (or at least your knowledge of French food vocabulary) is the limit.
    If the wine is fruité (fruity) or végétal (vegetal), you might sense fruits and vegetables like agrumes (citrus), fruits rouges (red berries), pamplemousse (grapefruit), artichaut (artichoke), or champignons (mushrooms).
    If it's floral (flowery), it might be scented with lavande (lavender), jasmin (jasmine), or violette (violet), whereas if it's nutty (for which there is no generic term in French), it might have un goût de châtaigne, noisette, or noix (a taste of chestnuts, hazelnuts, or walnuts).
    A wine can be épicé (spicy), with hints of poivre (pepper), cannelle (cinnamon), or muscade (nutmeg), or it might be herbacé (herbaceous) and taste like réglisse (licorice), thym (thyme), or menthe (mint).
    Other possible aromas:
    • boisé - woody
    • brûlé - burnt taste
    • cacao - cocoa
    • café - coffee
    • cèdre - cedar
    • charnu - meaty
    • chocolat - chocolate
    • foin - hay
    • fumé - smoky
    • médicinal - medicinal
    • minéral - mineral
    • musqué - musky
    • parfumé - fragrant
    • pin - pine
    • résiné - resinous
    • tabac - tobacco
    • terreux - earthy
    • thé - tea
    • vanille - vanilla
    At this point, you might also discover that there is un défaut (a flaw). The wine is bad if it smells
    • bouchonné - corked
    • mildiousé - mildewed
    • moisi - moldy, musty
    • oxydé - oxidized
    3. La bouche - Taste
    Finally, it's time to taste the wine. Much of the above vocabulary is also useful during this phase, along with
    • acerbe - tart
    • acide - acidic
    • aigre - sour
    • aigu - sharp
    • amer - bitter
    • un arrière-goût - aftertaste
    • bien équilibré - well balanced
    • doux - sweet
    • frais - fresh
    • fruité - fruity
    • un goût - taste
    • la longueur / persistance en bouche - time the flavor remains in your mouth after swallowing
    • moelleux - sugary
    • une note - hint
    • plat - flat
    • rond - mild
    • rude - harsh
    • salé - salty
    • une saveur - flavor
    • sec - dry
    • sucré - sweet
    French wine tasting verbs (click for conjugations):I hope you've enjoyed this introduction to wine tasting terminology. To learn more about the process, see my colleague Stacy Slinkard's article How to Taste Wines at Wine.