Italians are well known for their passion for food and wine. But it is equally essential to know how to order it properly.
In Italy, your server may ask "Chi assaggia?" (pronounced kee ass-AHG-ah), meaning who will be tasting the wine. Simply point towards someone in your party.
One concern of students studying Italian may be that Italians might find them annoying by asking them to repeat themselves and slow down. However, this typically is not the case.
Imagine sitting down at an Italian restaurant, gazing upon their wine menu and being overwhelmed by pronunciation issues when trying to order local wines to impress your dinner companions. Instead of seeking help from anyone around you, however, you decide it best just to order directly yourself and place your order immediately.
Your tablemates look relieved that you were able to pronounce their wine correctly with thanks to this guide! We are thrilled to offer such an invaluable resource for all budding wine enthusiasts out there, so keep this page handy, bookmark or save a shortcut and begin exploring Italian wines.
Vowels in Italian tend to be fairly straightforward - the a sounds are similar to the a in father, the e sound resembles greeting, and the u sound like rule - though there are two notable exceptions; when followed by "a, o or u", hard Gs (gu-, go- or ghi) should be pronounced like English gate words while Italian R's are generally rolled instead of being shouted aloud.
Trying to sound Italian should involve pronouncing each syllable with equal emphasis; many English words have different pronunciations from Italian; for instance, Italian "ch" sounds are closer to those found in chiropractor or champagne than church or champagne.
Other words have silent final cs, such as the French grape variety Sauvignon Blanc. Chardonnay also uses this pattern; though some people might accent only its first syllable.
When ordering wine in Italy, knowing what words to use can be extremely helpful. For instance, the phrase "avete un tavolo per uno/due/tre" can be used to request a table for yourself or group of three friends; upon arrival at a restaurant it's also best to request a glass of water; "assaggio io, grazie" indicates your desire to taste wine prior to making a selection decision.
Italian is distinct in that it possesses seven vowels--a, e, i, o and u--plus closed and open "e"s and open os. Additionally, Italian offers both diphthongs (two vowel combinations producing one sound) and triphthongs (three vowel combos that produce multiple sounds).
Italian's consonants feature multiple sounds, such as the letter c (which can sound like a hard K when followed by A, O or U--for instance when spoken inside of a house), gn, pn, sp and z; furthermore there are double consonants such as f, l, m, n, r, s and t which take more effort to pronounce than single ones--as they should.
digraphs such as ch, dg and tt are very similar to their English equivalents (with the exception of trillled/rolled pronunciation of tt). By learning these sounds you will soon be on your way to pronouncing wine like an Italian native! Good luck! Learning these digraphs should put you well on your way towards pronouncing wine like an Italian would - good luck! Chi assaggia? and grazie! (chee-AHN-tee). Congratulations; soon you can start impressing patrons of an Italian wine bar!