Much like people, grapes have been known to have extremely esoteric names… both hard on the tongue and occasionally the ear. But weird grapes are inherently fun… being able to pronounce them properly gives you instant bragging rights, and learning about new grapes is probably more exciting than most of what you learned in college.
Here is a collection of 10 incredible grape names. Trust us, this list could have been pages long…
1.) Fer Servadou. “Fair Sair-vuh-doo”
This is a grape you might see if you venture to Northern Virginia wine country. Also known as Fer (so much less weird, yes?), this grape has origins in Southwestern France, where it is prized for its high concentration and spirited, fruity aromas. “Fer” is French for “Iron”; the grape is so named because of its very hardy wood stock that makes it a b#*&! to prune. Fer Servadou: could easily be a 1980’s sports car, but no- its a grape.
2.) Moschofilero “Mos-co-FEE-ler-oh”
Oh! The Greeks and their grape names. Moschofilero is just a drop in the bucket, but its by far the most fun to say. This is an incredibly fun aromatic white that screams “drink me with an ocean breeze in your hair.” Reminiscent of a Sauvignon Blanc, it is zesty and fresh.
3.) Bukettraube “Boo-kuh-traube”
Boo-kuh-WHAT?! This one almost sounds like a piece of farm machinery. “Hey, go get the Bukketraube and we’ll dig up those boulders.” But no, a grape it is- and a darn good one! Although its history is most likely German, head to the South African section if you’re looking for one. Its nose is incredibly peachy, floral and honeyed, almost like a Muscat. Great with your favorite spicy cuisine.
4.) Lemberger “Lem-burger”
That one should be sorta obvious. “Welcome to Lemberger, home of the Lemberger, can I take your order?” is all that comes to mind. While it doesn’t win the “hard to pronounce” race, this one is pretty odd. It ends in BURGER. I mean, really? This grape is also known by the almost-equally weird, but a bit more common name Blaufrankisch. You’d find Blaufrankisch in the Austrian Red section, whereas something labeled as Lemberger is more likely to be in Germany. A dark-skinned grape, these wines can serve up strong tannin and nice spice.
5.) Falanghina “Fall-un-gee-na”
If you attempt this pronunciation unguided, you could end up adrift in female anatomy. Friends don’t let friends get awkwardly stared at, so that’s why we’re here. In its proper pronunciation, Falanghina could almost be a person’s name. Maybe mom and dad drank a bottle the night little Falanghina was conceived and decided to pay proper tribute. Shoot, anything’s possible with children’s names these days (I’m looking at you, Blue Ivy!) In any case, Falanghina is a fairly common Italian white, mostly found in Southern Italy. Golden yellow in color, it can offer a pleasantly full body and bold citrus flavors.
6.) Bugey “Bue-Ghee”
Okay, this is cheating a bit, because Bugey is actually a place rather than a grape; but you might come across it on a wine label and MAN! It takes the cake. Bugey! You can’t not think of boogers. But its also almost like Boozy! You gotta be kiddin. There are so many fun ententres to be made with this tiny region that lies in France, close to the Swiss border. Go nuts! Hint: the wine doesn’t taste like boogers.
7.) Roditis “Roe-dee-tis”
Maybe its just me, but this just sounds like a disease. “Did you get tested for Roditis yet?” That seems like something your general practitioner would ask. In reality, this is a Greek grape that is pink-skinned and tons of fun. It is sometimes blended into a wine called Retsina, a centuries-old style of wine that is made using pine resin.
8.) Chasselas Doré “Chass-lah Door-ay”
A relatively obscure Swiss grape that also has tiny plantings in Oregon. A lean, low-alcohol white, it goes by Chasselas for short. Somewhat chalky and neutral, its an easy sipper. This grape name reminds me of two things: a Moray eel and Dory the fish from Finding Nemo. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…
9.) Pedro Ximénez “Pedro Him-EN-ezz”
A grape that is literally a name! This is a cool one, because Pedro Ximénez is the grape used to produce Sherry in the Montilla-Moriles region of Spain. Sometimes nicknamed “PX” for swag factor, it can also be made into a dry white wine. There are small amounts planted in Chile. Who would’ve thought?
This wins the ugly grape name award. Fortunately, it has another name- Chenin Blanc! For some reason, in South Africa, Chenin Blanc is sometimes called Steen. Steen? I don’t know what to think of that word. All I know is, it feels terrible to say. “Man, I had the most delicious Steen yesterday!” Something ain’t right about that. South Africa, I love ya- but really. Lets stick with Chenin Blanc.