Why are champagne brand names so difficult to pronounce?
Most champagne brand names are mispronounced, even by people who think they know how to say them correctly. Of course all champagne is made in France, so you would think some knowledge of French would help you out here, but this is not always the case. You see, many old champagne families who set up their houses in Champagne did not originally come from France – they came from Germany, and one of the most famous is Dutch in origin. This foreign influence is the cause of many a mistake in pronouncing champagne names. I’ve checked how to say these names with a friend in Paris (merci, Oriane!!), and she double-checked those she wasn’t completely sure of, so I’m confident that this is one of the most reliable resources you will find on the net, or anywhere else, for how to pronounce the names of champagnes.
Why don’t more people get pronunciation right?
There are many terribly well-meaning pronunciation guides to champagne names on the net, but they are riddled with mistakes. If someone writes a phonetic spelling for champagne which looks like this: ‘DOM PAY/ree/nyong’ (I took this example from a top-rated, and otherwise excellent wine site), I can tell at a glance the whoever provided it has very little, if any grounding in the French language, and where one error exists many more are sure to follow. French is not a stressed language like Italian or Spanish, so if you see capitals letters (which indicate stress) in the phonetic description of a French word, you can be sure that it is off-track, and likely to be wrong.
Here is a list of some of the top Champagne Houses and brand names, with audio, so you will definitively know how to pronounce them. They are in no particular order. Please click on the links for the audio, and more information about each brand or start with this handy video.
- Dom Pérignon – doh~pay/ree/nyoh~
Moët et Chandon – moh/eht eh shah~/doh~ (not moh/ay)
- Deutz – døhtz (not the expected German pronunciation; a very fine champagne)
- Heidsieck – ehd/seek
- Veuve Clicquot – vøhv klee/koh (not voov)
- Pol Roger – pohl roh/zhay (not ‘roger’ like the name)
- Louis Roederer – louis rho/eh/d’/ray
- Mumm – mewm (not ‘mum’, I implore you)
- Pommery – pohm/ree (not pom/meh/ree)
- Ruinart – rwee/nahr (not ‘ruin art’)
- Taittinger – teh/ta~/zhay (not tay/teen/djuh)
If you have any questions or comments, I look forward to hearing them. There are many other champagnes of course, so should one you are unsure about not be listed here or in the database, let me know, and I will get back to you within 2 days at the most!