Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Is there a word for sparkling wine that starts with the letter “P”?
—Liam, Dublin, Ireland
Oh fun! Are we doing a crossword together? I often get the clue for a four-letter wine-related prefix, which is “oeno,” from the Ancient Greek οἶνος.
I can think of at least two words that might be what you’re looking for. Prosecco is a popular light-bodied sparkling wine from Italy. (Check out our ABCs of Prosecco Superiore video for more.) The other word you might be thinking of is “petillant,” a French word that means “sparkling” or “fizzy” and which has been trending in recent years with the rise of pétillant naturel sparkling wines, more commonly known as “pét-nats.”
A couple other sparkling P-words for your vocabulary: The primary red grape for Champagne and many other sparkling wines is Pinot Noir (another key grape is Pinot Meunier), and the top wine from a sparkling wine house is known as its “prestige cuvée.” “Perlage” is a term that refers to the size and energy of the bubbles in a glass of sparkling wine, and there’s also a somewhat obscure category of effervescent wines in Germany called Perlwein. I hope these all come in handy the next time you “pop” a bottle of bubbly!