Do You Speak Wine Geek? Try This Pronunciation Guide

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Illustration by Andrew Saegar, tHEARTdept.
Hey, fellow lushes! The other day, The Wino was out getting her drink on and got bitch-slapped by some sassy barmaid.

Well, maybe I'm exaggerating just a smidge, but here's how it went down:

"I'll have a glass of something pink," I said.

"Do you mean a rose?" she said, rolling her eyes and her R's and looking down her nose at me like I was a complete idiot.

Whatevs! Just bring me a glass, pronto, so I can drown my deep shame.

Not really, but The Wino wonders how many people avoid ordering wine because they're terrified they'll mangle the pronunciation of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, or Merlot.

And that's a crying shame because, damnit, you non-winos, those taste really good, especially when you drink them while eating something yummy. Most grapes grown in this country originally came from France and bear those Frenchified names. The Wino sure as hell wishes she hadn't dropped that French class and learned to speak that beautiful language, but il n'a pas été signifié pour être. I still stumble plenty over pronunciations. (Especially after I've had a few.)

Sitting there at the bar, stewing and sipping my pink wine, I thought: Wouldn't the world be a much happier place if we could order wine like you order combo plates at chow mein cafes? Yeah, I'll have a No. 6!

No, that'd never fly. Here's one more idea: For you wino wannabes, why not check out the awesome audible pronunciation guide of some of those tongue-twisting names on Merriam-Webster.com. Sure, some of the voices sound a little robotic, but then there's the hottie who shows us how to wrap your tongue around Chardonnay.

Now that you know how to say it, go get you some Counterbalance Chardonnay at Ward Johnson Winery, made right here in Seattle from grapes grown in eastern Washington. Stop by the super-cute tasting room on 15th, near Interbay Driving Range.

While you're there, you might as well also try the cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and syrah. Even if you don't get the name just right, don't sweat it--the folks who pour tastes at Ward Johnson are real nice. When it doubt, point at a bottle and say: I'll try that red. Yup, that'll keep you in the pink. Wait, I mean rose.

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