By Karl Bradley & Jody Wuollett

Grape Varietal Etymology: Part Two, P through Z

The following is the second part of our ongoing research of the origins of the most common varietal grape names. Please feel free to comment or add to this list via e-mail at wine:[email protected]



• Pinot Gris and Pinot Bianco (Bee-Ahn-koe): A French white wine grape that makes a dry, full white wine that some liken to Chardonnay. The name is derived from the French or Italian words for “pine” and “white.”

• Petit Verdot (Peh-tee Vehr-doe): A French red-wine grape from Bordeaux, the name Petit Verdot means “small green” and may reference the fact that the berries often fail to develop properly without the right weather during flowering. It also refers to the late ripening, which usually comes too late for the Bordeaux climate.

• Petite Sirah (Peh-teet See-rah): Literally translated as “Little Syrah,” the grape originated as a cross of Syrah (see Shiraz/Syrah below) pollen germinating a Peloursin vine. This California red grape is probably the same as the Durif of the Rhone (the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives recognizes “Durif” and “Petite Sirah” as interchangeable synonyms referring to the same grape). The grape is named after François Durif, a botanist at the University of Montpellier.

• Pinot (Pee-noe): Part of several grape names, Pinot is the French word for “pine,” alluding to the varietal’s tightly clustered pine cone-shaped bunches of fruit.

• Pinot Gris (Pee-noe Gree) and Pinot Grigio (Pee-noe Gree-joe): French and Italian names, respectively, for the same grape, typically making a dry and very crisp and acidic white wine. Gris is French for “gray,” as is Grigio in Italian.

• Pinot Meunier (Pee-noe Mehr-n’yay): This French black grape is one of three allowed in Champagne blends. Its name translates in French to “miller,” which refers to the flour-like dusty white down on the underside of its leaves.

• Pinot Noir and Pinot Nero (Pee-noe Nay-ro): A Classic red grape originating in Burgundy, noir is the French word for “black,” as is nero in Italian.

• Roussanne (Roo-sahn): A white Rhone grape, the berries are distinguished by their russet color when ripe. The name is probably a derivative of the French word roux, which is French for the reddish brown color russet.

• Sangiovese (Sahn-joe-VAY-zeh): The predominant red wine grape of Tuscany in Central Italy, the name is derived from the Latin words sanguis Iovis, which translates to “the blood of Jove.”

• Sauvignon Blanc (So-veen-yawn BlahN): A French white grape native to the Loire and Bordeaux, where it is usually blended with Semillon. The name combines the French word sauvage meaning “wild,” and blanc meaning “white.”

• Sémillon (Say-mee-yoN): A white wine grape native to Bordeaux, the name originates from the Latin word sēmen, meaning “seed” or “to sow.”

• Shiraz (Shee-rahz) and Syrah (See-rah): An Australian synonym for Syrah, the classic Rhone red grape allegedly brought back from Persia by the 14th Century crusader Gaspard de Sterimberg and named for the city Shiraz.

• Tempranillo (Temp-rah-NEEL-yo): This red wine grape is used as the main grape in Rioja wines. The grape’s name derives from the Spanish word temprana, meaning “early,” because the grape usually is harvested during late September.

• Verdicchio (Vehr-DEEK-yo): An Italian white wine grape from the Adriatic coast of Central Italy, the name is a derivative of the word verde, which means green, and may reference its slight green/yellow hue when ripe.

• Zinfandel (Zin-fahn-DELL): Declared the “American Wine Grape” because it reaches its highest level in California, it’s now been shown to be the same as the Southern Italian Primitivo. Some wine experts suggest a corruption of the Austrian grape name Zierfandler, though these grapes are not related to those of Zinfandel.







Information about “Where to Try” and “Where to Buy” these selected wines was provided by the local wine purveyors and vendors. If you happen to also serve or sell these wines, email [email protected].

WINE:30 is written by Karl Bradley and Jody Wuollett. Karl is the general manager and self-proclaimed “sous” sommelier for the Mission Grille. Former restaurant executive and Door County native Jody is happily under-employed as a Mission Grille food server and a member of the local band Northbound. They are both long time residents and first time contributors to the Peninsula Pulse.

Wine Wiki:

Glögg (In the spirit of this weekend’s Nordic Fall Festival in Sister Bay, Also known as glug): a Nordic mulled-wine beverage made with red wine mulled with sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and orange peel. Add the option of a stronger beverage such as brandy then serve warm! The following is our favorite version of the glug recipe:



• Two one-liter bottles inexpensive American port

• One
 bottle inexpensive brandy

• 10 inches of cinnamon stick

• 15 cardamom seed pods or 1 teaspoon whole cardamom seeds

• Two bottles inexpensive dry red wine

• One orange peel, whole and washed

1/2 cup dark raisins

• 1 cup blanched almonds

• 2 cups sugar

• Two dozen whole cloves

Simmer all the ingredients together for 15-20 minutes and serve warm! Enjoy.