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09 Mar 2020
Posted by Wade

Wine speak made easy …

How to say it like you mean it and know what it means.

Drinking wine is easy, it’s the speaking part that can get you a little tongue twisted. Read on to find out exactly how to pronounce (and understand) your wine perfectly…

Blanc de Blanc

Pronounced ‘Blunk duh Blunk’, this is the name for a sparkling wine or Champagne made entirely from Chardonnay grapes.

Blanc de Noir

Pronounced ‘Blunk duh Nwah’, this refers to a sparkling wine or Champagne made entirely from red grapes.


Pronounced, ‘Brute’, a dry champagne or sparkling wine. Which really just means it’s not very sweet.

Cabernet Franc

Pronounced ‘Cab-err-nay Frank’, this is a red grape common to Bordeaux. It’s characteristics include a herbal, leafy flavour and a soft, fleshy texture.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Pronounced ‘Cab-err-nay Suv-in-your’, this powerful, tannic red grape is of noble heritage; the base grape for many red Bordeaux and most of the best red wines from California, Washington, Chile, and South Africa; capable of aging for decades.


‘Shard-on-nay’ is arguably the best and most widely planted white wine grape in the world. Usually wooded, it exudes notes of butter and vanilla, along with granny smith apples and a bright acidity when not wooded.

Chenin Blanc

‘Shen-in Blunk’ is a white grape whose flavours include fruit, honey, and sometimes grasses. Other characteristics of wines made from Chenin Blanc grapes include an oily texture, high acidity, and a deep gold coloring.


Pronounced, ‘Gra-nash’, this is a heady red grape popular in southern France as well as in Spain (where it goes by the very Spanish sounding name, ‘Garnacha’).


This stands for Methode Cap Classique. It’s South Africa’s version of champagne, made in the identical way, however, only sparkling wine made in the Champagne region can be called ‘champagne’.


Pronounced, ‘Mer-low’ this famed red grape gained its popularity in Bordeaux and is now grown and enjoyed throughout the world.

Pinot Noir

‘Pea-no-nwah’ is the prime red grape hailing from Burgundy and Champagne.


Pronounced, ‘Pin-oh-taj’, this is a hybrid between Pinot Noir and Cinsault that is grown almost exclusively in South Africa.


‘Ree-sling’, along with Chardonnay, is one of the top white grapes in the world; most popular in Germany, Alsace, and Austria.


Pronounced, ‘rose-ay’ – it’s used to describe a category of refreshing wines that are pink in color, made from any red grape (from Pinotage to Pinot Noir). As varied in style, taste and colour as their red wine cousins, rosé wines can also be made still, semi-sparkling and sparkling.

Sauvignon Blanc 

Pronounced, ‘Suv-in-your-blunk’ – this white grape planted throughout the world is a firm favourite in South Africa’s tables and cellars alike. Usually enjoyed unwooded, this fresh wine is most often enjoyed young and exudes a vibrant acidity. Its hallmark flavours include lemon and freshly-cut grass.


The Australian and South African name for Syrah; also used sparingly in the United States. It’s a spicy, full and tannic wine that ages well.


Pronounced, ‘Sirr-ah’, this is a red grape planted extensively in the Rhone Valley of France, South Africa and Australia. Over here, we call it ‘Shiraz’. A spicy, full and tannic wine that ages well.


Pronounced, ‘Semi-awn’ – this plump white grape gained its popularity in Bordeaux and is used extensively in white blends in SA. We have some knock-out 100% Semillons too. On its own, and at its best, it offers notes of bees wax, limes and a velvety finish.

The Wade Bales Wine Club

The best wine club in the bizz. Instead of being told what you should drink by a panel of wine experts, you get to choose the wine you like, then choose your budget too. After that, simply sit back and wait for your wine to be delivered right to your door. No fixed contracts necessary.


Pronounced, ‘Vee-oh-nay’ – fragrant, powerful white grape first grown in the Rhone Valley of France but now gaining popularity here too.