HOME > Chowhound > Wine >


Do you pronounce the "t" in moet?

I had an argument with my brother and I won't back down until i am proven right. I'm not going to influence the answers by revealing what I think!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The "t" is pronounced. If I remember correctly, the name is German.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mengathon

      Thank you, even though it's french the "T" is there even if it sounds wrong!

        1. re: soypower

          Soypower- Thanks for putting the nail in the coffin. Interesting bit of trivia at the same time.

          1. re: showthyme

            IF the name were spelled M-O-E-T, it would be pronounced "mow-AY." But it isn't. It is spelled M-O-Ë-T, with an umlaut over the "e" -- and "Moët" (and, for that matter, "Perrier-Jouët") are "mow-ETTE" and "zhew-ETTE," respectively . . . the "t" is pronounced.

            As has been pointed out, the name "Moët" is not French, but rather of Dutch origins.

            1. re: zin1953

              Don't forget Huët, yet another "ette"

              1. re: zin1953

                In French, a diaeresis* is placed over the vowels I, E and U to indicate that the preceding vowel is pronounced separately. The OE in *Moet* (without the diaeresis) would be pronounced as a single vowel, like the OE in *œdepien* or *œnologue*. Unless there's some rule I've not encountered in several decades of studying the language, the diaeresis plays no role in determining whether or not the following letter -- the T in this case -- is pronounced.

                *Not an umlaut, which indicates that the vowel over which it is placed is to be articulated more to the front or centre of the mouth.

                1. re: carswell

                  I speak French . . . BADLY. And I haven't formally studied it in some 40 years (French in elementary school; Russian in high school), so I'll bow to anyone (and everyone) else when it comes to French grammar.

                  All I know is that every wine name with an "-ët" is pronounced "ETTE"

                  1. re: zin1953


                    You are correct. In this particular case, the oddity is because of the Dutch derivation of the name, not French. The "t" is there, but is soft, about as you type, "ette." Almost a whisper.


                    1. re: zin1953

                      Well, I am French and went to school in Reims,
                      and you are absolutely right: Moet is pronouced

              2. re: soypower

                Minor point.

                >>> Upon receiving my first free glass of bubbles I enthusiastically declared the ‘Mo-aye was fabulous,’ only to be shot down by an acid-tongued fashion editor who said, ‘It’s Mo-wett darling.’ <<<

                Wouldn't "mo-aye" be pronounced "mo," as in "mow the lawn"; and "aye," as in "Aye, aye, Sir!" ??? ;^)

              3. Yes you do.

                This is a perennial question and when it came up some years ago on another board I contacted M&C in Champagne fo a definitive answer. And the answer is yes, Say the 'T'

                1 Reply
                1. re: Gussie Finknottle

                  Right on. There IS a "t," and it is pronounced, though softly.


                2. I hate feeling stupid...I look forward to the "pity" looks as I correctly pronounce "Moe-wett" from here on out. Thank you for setting me staight, it still makes me laugh, it sounds completely unFrench for something that is ONLY French!

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: bnemes3343

                      Oops, you beat me to it.

                      Note to self, do not hesitate and drink wine, as others will beat you to a post!

                      Happy New Year!


                  1. If Freddie Mercury did not pronounce the 'T', neither will I.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: chris in illinois


                      Few if any francophone wine lovers of my acquaintance, including sommeliers, pronounce the final T in Moët, Jouët or Huët. Am pretty sure I've never heard a T at the end of former Canadien's goalie Cristobal Huet's name, either, though Wikipedia (English and French editions) says it should be there. This afternoon when I asked my French French butcher, a rabid fan of fellow Frenchman Huet, how he pronounced the goalie's family name, he said it without the T.

                      1. re: carswell

                        >>> Few if any francophone wine lovers of my acquaintance, including sommeliers, pronounce the final T in Moët, Jouët or Huët. <<<

                        Hmmmm . . . EVERYONE that i know in the wine trade -- on both sides of the Atlantic -- DOES pronounce the "T".

                        1. re: zin1953

                          Jason, like you I have NEVER heard anyone in the wine trade not pronounce the T in Moet or Huet either... HOWEVER, Perrier-Jouet I have heard as zhou-ay.

                        2. re: carswell

                          Many wine lovers/writers say "varietal" when they mean "variety". Many food writers/bloggers use "gourmand" when the mean "gourmet". Common occurance doesn't make it correct although online dictionaries that adapt with phrase usage may make one thing so.

                          And as with Jason, everyone that I know that has visited the domaine pronounces with the "t".

                          1. re: BillB656

                            And, wait for it... the "t" gets the vote! The crowd explodes and it's all for the "t." I figure that if the gentleman founder's name was Moët, he was Dutch and the folk at the house pronounce the "t," then we should pronounce it too.

                            Now, if your mother-in-law calls it Mow-AY, or simiar, do not correct her. Let it lie, or you will be cursed forever - or as long as you are married to her daughter.


                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              *Now, if your mother-in-law calls it Mow-AY, or simiar, do not correct her. Let it lie, or you will be cursed forever - or as long as you are married to her daughter.*

                              Oh, you'll probably still be cursed even after you divorce, too.

                              1. re: Frodnesor

                                Yeah, that could well happen too!

                                Luckily, I'm still on my "training wife," so I have no first-hand knowledge, just innuendo and the like.


                            2. re: BillB656

                              Nowhere have I claimed the T in Moët is silent. When it comes to pronunciation, French proper names are rules unto themselves; if you're curious about how a name is pronounced, you're best off asking someone who knows. In response to chris in illinois's jocular post, I merely pointed out that he and Freddy Mercury are in good company. There are many native French speakers who don't pronounce the final Ts in any of the above-mentioned names, including Cristobal Huet's, which is (or was until he was traded) on every Quebecer's lips, not just wine lovers'.

                              And, yes, Wikipedia is always to be taken with a large grain of salt. Unfortunately Cristobal hasn't made it into the *Le Petit Robert des noms propres* and anyway that tome regrettably doesn't give pronunciations. While I've generally found the French Wikipedia to be good about pronunciations and it is in the "pronounce the T" camp, feel free to ignore it.

                          2. re: chris in illinois

                            Well, Freddie had a horrible underbite. However, he was afraid that a correction to that would spoil his voice. Little did he realize that it was moot, or would soon be.

                            Pronounce the "t," and let others struggle with their personal impressions.


                            1. re: chris in illinois

                              But Freddie Mercury DID pronounce the 'T'! It's subtle, connecting with the "and"...so it sounds like "moeh tan chandon, in a pretty cabinet"

                            2. Yes. It is a soft "t." Mr Moët was Dutch, so the "ë" doesn't hold true for the French. If it did, it would be "Mo-A". If you listen to the folk from the winery say it, the "t" definitely comes out, albeit softly.


                              10 Replies
                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                There is no soft T in French. And the ë most certainly holds true for the French (was the original Moët even spelled with a diaeresis in Dutch?), since it signals that the word is to be pronounced as two syllables (mo-ette), not one (meuht, or something similar). To get the A sound in "Mo-A", the word would probably have to be written with an acute e (é) or a homophone like *-ez*, *-er* or, yes, *-et* (but where the T is silent, such as in *filet*).

                                1. re: carswell

                                  "was the original Moët even spelled with a diaeresis in Dutch?"

                                  That is a good question. According to a representative of the winery (however in the United States and of US origin, I believe), it has not been altered. I do not know how true that statement was, or how inclusive it was, as not being altered in, say the last hundred years, is not the same as not having been altered ever.

                                  Now, am I incorrect, or did you not state earlier in this thread that with the ë, the "t" would be silent? Maybe I am confusing posts and posters, as the "t" is not silent in this particular case.


                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    Re the diaeresis in Dutch, googling MOET CHANDON and restricting the results to Dutch websites turns up at least as many MOETs as MOËTs. Googling MOET -CHANDON turns up tens of thousands of instances of MOET and, in the first ten or 20 pages of results I looked at, no instances of MOËT. That said, *moet* appears to be a common verb (maybe the Dutch equivalent of *must*?), which probably prevents any conclusions from being drawn.

                                    However, the Wikipedia entry (pace, BillB656) for Charles Moët includes the following paragraph with a reference to Don and Petie Kladstrup's *Champagne: How the World's Most Glamorous Wine Triumphed Over War and Hard Times* (Harpercollins, 2005): "The Moët family can trace its origins to a Dutch soldier named LeClerc who fought alongside Joan of Arc in fending off English attempts at preventing the crowning of Charles VII. As a reward for his service, the King changed his name to Moët."

                                    «Now, am I incorrect, or did you not state earlier in this thread that with the ë, the "t" would be silent?»

                                    Nope. The only point I made is that the diaeresis affects the vowel that precedes the vowel it marks, not the consonant that follows, i.e. the fact that the e is marked with a diaeresis has no bearing on whether the T in Moët is pronounced, a point reinforced by the number of native speakers of French who, rightly or wrongly, do not pronounce the T in such contexts.

                                    1. re: carswell

                                      I guess all that really matters is how the family pronounces the name. Cristobal Huet prefers the no T approach (according to a Washington Caps broadcaster that interviewed him). Domaine Huët prefers the "ette".

                                      I had a French teach in high school named Mr. Benoit. You would think he'd pronounce his name as Ben-wha, but no, he wanted us to call him Mr. Ben-oyt.

                                      My last name is of Dutch origin but when my grandfather came over in 1911 the pronounciation has changed from how a Dutchman would say it to something rather different.

                                      1. re: BillB656

                                        Though probably off topic, I find it interesting how the same family in even close proximity, but different cultures, pronounce their family/last name. Growing up on the MS Gulf Coast, and quite near the strongly French-founded cities of Biloxi and New Orleans, I knew the Grimillons. In Gulfport (near Biloxi and only 70 miles from New Orleans), this branch pronounced the name Grah-million. Just a few miles away, in either direction, the pronunciation was Grim-e-Yawhn. Now, there are some phonetic aspects, that I have not bothered to add in (too lazy to fire up WordPerfect and the "Phonetic" fonts), but I think that you get the picture.

                                        Maybe we need to all get into the "way back machine," and set the dial to the beginning of the house of Moët. Perhaps we could listen to some of the conversations, just to see how it was pronounced then.

                                        All of my data comes directly from employees of the house, not from distributors. However, each has been of US origin, and though they spend a good amount of time in FR, are, afterall, from the US. Still, 3 out of 3 is not bad, US citizens, or not. Each has told the same story. Maybe an urban myth. Since I had the same discussion, as the OP way back when, this was something that I listened to carefully, though maybe not carefully enough.

                                        Maybe the house of Moët likes to play a trick on unsuspecting US persons? How would we know? I'm sure that no one in power would ever divulge this trick.


                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                          I am a French citizen. I can assure you that the T is pronounced. Any French person who does not pronounce the T, is in fact, just misinformed/ignorant or staunch in their ways regarding how *think* it should be pronounced...in any case, they are incorrect. The letter T is most definitely pronounced. People just assume the surname is French since it is a French company, and pronounce it "Moe-ay" because of that. You know what you get when you assume...

                                        2. re: BillB656

                                          We have a restaurant supply store here in town with "Benoit" in the name. My first experience with them I referred to them as "Ben-wah" but was corrected to pronounce it as you described "Ben-oyt". I can only assume, like so many others, it has become Americanized.

                                        3. re: carswell

                                          My abject apologies. I must have referenced another's post to you, and am sorry. I guess that I need to Expand All more often, when many comments have been made.

                                          As the younger set says, "my bad."

                                          Thanks for the clarification,


                                          1. re: carswell

                                            I thought it would be a good point to bring up that although(Jean and Nicolas i think ) LeClerc were Dutch, they were renamed Moёt by King Charles VII, a Frenchman.
                                            if you go on to www.forvo.com you can see the variances between Dutch and French pronunciations of Moёt.

                                            by the way... hello everyone my name is Stephen, im from Australia and i have been working in a fine wine store for nearly four years. love wine.
                                            P.S really enjoyed this reading this highly intellectual conversation.

                                        4. re: carswell

                                          "There is no soft T in French." Is this statement not rendered moot, as the founder was Dutch?

                                          Maybe I'm not paying attention in this thread, but I though that the Dutch origin had been established earlier on. I think that I need to go back and start from the first post.


                                      2. This will probably show my age, but years ago Marcel Marceau did a Moët TV commercial, where he stated "Mo-et, with the T". Although he spoke aloud, I remember that he mimed the champagne glass.

                                        1. At at Moet food pairing/tasting event, we were informed by the company's rep, that yes, the T is pronounced.

                                          1. How about the "t" in Gruet, the (really quite good) sparkling wine from New Mexico?

                                            23 Replies
                                            1. re: shane

                                              According to the explanation I heard regarding the pronunciation of Moët...it's both. The sticking point is the conjunction 'et' in the full name, Moët et Chandon. Apparently, you cannot have 'ët' 'et' (both with hard Ts) together. So, when you say the entire name it's Moe-ay et Chandon, but if you are just saying Moët, it's Moe-ette.

                                              I know Laurent Gruet, co-owner and winemaker at Gruet. It's pronounced Groo-AY. And yes, it is very good sparkling wine!!

                                              1. re: 53latour

                                                What the heck?

                                                The "t" in et (meaning "and") is never pronounced in French, so that conjunction rule you've heard is bogus and kinda strange.

                                                But Moët is Dutch, so the "t" is always pronounced.

                                                Even if Moet was a French word (it's not), the "t" would still be pronounced in the example you give. That's because the liaison rule would apply: a normally silent final "t" is pronounced when followed by a word beginning with a vowel. So Moet even then would be Mo-ET when saying Moet et Chandon. Likewise, the "t" in Gruet -- normally not pronounced -- would be pronounced when saying "Gruet et Fils," the name of the mother winery in Bethon, France.

                                                So, it's Mo-ET any way you slice it.

                                                1. re: maria lorraine


                                                  Thanks for pointing out the Dutch aspect, though I really, really thought that I, and others had done that up-thread. Too many French linguists have weighed in on how it should be, were the founder French, but we'll never know, as he was Dutch.

                                                  The "T" is pronounced, though somewhat softly.


                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                    Yes, you did point out the Dutch origin. You really, really did. As did others. And you're also right about not correcting your mother-in-law.

                                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                                      Also, I know everyone keeps saying the name Moët is Dutch. It's not. It's French. The family was Dutch in the time of Joan of Arc, but that's not a Dutch name.

                                                      The Dutch didn't really have a system of surnames until Napoleon made them adopt them. Up until then (and certainly at the time of the name Moët's genesis), Dutch last names were mostly patronyms like "Janszoon" and the like. Even Moët's Dutch ancestor had a French last name, another very popular option in the Low Countries to this day. And even after that, the "oë" combination would be extraordinarily rare in Dutch. A more Dutchified version—especially taking the spelling conventions at the time—would be, like, "Meeuws" or "Moeet" or "Moeit" or something along those lines.

                                                      It comes down to this: The T is pronounced as a slight but predictable variant in French orthography, kind of like the R in "fier." Every language has exceptions. This is one of them.

                                                      But it's not because of Dutch influence.


                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                          Probably the same, pronounced with the T at the end.

                                                          It occurs to me: This name is old enough and not from Île-de-France, so it could be simply a dialect or old spelling.

                                                          Final Ts may have been pronounced in the region at the time of the name's inception (indeed, most final letters *were* pronounced in French until relatively recently). The "oët" spelling could simply be a reflection of the pronunciation of the local Langue d'Oïl. Langues d'Oïl are the continuum of languages that eventually gave us what we call "French"—and French, in turn, is just the dominant (i.e., Parisian) dialect within that linguistic continuum.

                                                          Since all these wines must by definition come from the same region (Champagne), it would stand to reason they'd all reflect names in that local dialect and with local spelling idiosynchronicities.

                                                          After all, spellings of last names tend to change at a much slower rate than spellings of standard vocabulary (which change REALLY slowly) to begin with. That French surnames like Moët and Jouët would retain a flavor of the middle ages is the far more likely reason for their spellings and pronunciations.

                                                          1. re: kill_the_wabbit

                                                            Wow. Thanks for the elucidation. Though I have read something slightly different about Moët. Will check into that. Meantime, so glad you radioed in. Great handle.

                                                            1. re: maria lorraine

                                                              And, the House of Moët tells a different story. Maybe they need to be educated, as well?

                                                              Perhaps you should tell them that they have it all wrong.


                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                Maybe. It's often the case that the subjects of a story are the worst sources for their historical accuracy.

                                                                1. re: kill_the_wabbit

                                                                  Could be, but then I would think that the house would have things down rather pat. Still, who knows?


                                                                2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                  It's difficult to uncover the real story, since there seem to be conflicting stories and the incident in question happened nearly 600 years ago (1429). See below. I have contacts at Moet in Champagne, from my visits there. I can chase those down, although Moet (the company) may have an interest in perpetuating a legend that involves Joan of Arc, if it is indeed a legend. I did read a little more about Charles VII changing the names of people, and inserting tremas at will. Also found another scholarly citation of the LeClerc "moet" rallying cry. But who knows? Perhaps all the book citations I've found that repeat the LeClerc story come from the same (unconfirmed) source. Then again, all the information related to the name Moet may be unconfirmed, since, again, we're talking 600 years ago and there is no video/digital archive. There may be no definitive answer. Thanks for the citation, DD


                                                              2. re: kill_the_wabbit

                                                                Great info, k_t_w. It's never too late to set the Internet straight.

                                                            2. re: kill_the_wabbit

                                                              Below is the reference I read earlier.

                                                              I'm not trying to argue, KTW and DD, merely to understand.

                                                              The information I have read from the sources below says that LeClerc was renamed Moet by Charles VII after LeClerc's rallying cry, "Het moet zoo zijn" . . . " ["It must be so," in Dutch] was successfully used to keep Charles VII in power as King of France. As a thank you to LeClerc, Charles VII renamed him Moet.

                                                              I don't know when the ë (with the trema) became part of the spelling, as the word "moet" in Dutch, meaning "must," is spelled without the trema.

                                                              Please tell me if the recounting of history from the sources below is somehow incorrect.

                                                              Info sources:
                                                              Christie's World Encyclopedia of Champagne & Sparkling Wine, by Tom Stevenson.
                                                              Robert Lawrence Balzer's Private Guide to Food & Wine, Volume 6.

                                                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                That could totally be the right answer — and it would be quite the story if it's true! The trema would be absent in Dutch for the word "must" but to achieve a Dutch-ish pronunciation of "moet" using French spelling, you could do "moët" though "moutte" would be closer. (In English, we'd spell it "moot," but have other options available, too.)

                                                                The story has a bit of an air of myth to me (which is why the language scientist-y person in me remains so skeptical), but that's okay. Sometimes it's best if words and names have a bit of mythos and mystery about them!

                                                                Language isn't language if it doesn't have a bit of story to it, after all.

                                                                1. re: kill_the_wabbit

                                                                  Sounds like a legend to me, too. I've heard a less glorious etymology, based on the French word "moue" (older spelling "moe"; the word is incidentally also of Germanic origin) and the ordinary French diminutive suffix "-et". The idea is that one of Moët's ancestors was known for always scowling or pouting. I can understand why writers of wine encyclopedias or the family itself might prefer the other story, although as you've both noticed, it explains neither the spelling nor the current pronunciation.

                                                                  1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                    <<I've heard a less glorious etymology...The idea is that one of Moët's ancestors was known for always scowling or pouting.>>

                                                                    Please provide a source for this info, DD.

                                                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                      Michel Refait (1998) "Moët & Chandon: De Claude Moët à Bernard Arnault". Langres: Dominique Guéniot. page 18.

                                                        2. re: maria lorraine

                                                          That is not how liaison works in French, at least not in modern French. I don't know this Gruet, but if the ‹t› is silent as you say it is, then it remains silent in "Gruet et Fils".

                                                          Note that I am NOT disagreeing with you or the other posters about the pronunciation of "Moët". I know the ‹t› is pronounced, although the only valid reason has nothing to do with Dutch or Charles VII or anything that happened 600 years ago. It's simply because the owners of the champagne house and the members of the family say it's pronounced that way, today.

                                                          Even if it were a Dutch name (I don't care if it is or not), the family could say "We prefer a slient ‹t›", and the correct pronunciation would be a with a silent ‹t›. Even if it were a French name (I don't care if it is or not), the family could say "The ‹t› is pronounced", and the correct pronunciation would be [and as it happens, is] with a pronounced ‹t›.

                                                          1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                            Total agreement that the holder of the name has the final say on pronunciation.

                                                            I've most often heard Gruet, the winery in New Mexico in the US, pronounced with a final "t".

                                                            I've mostly heard the Gruet, as in the Champagne winery Gruet et Fils, pronounced without a final "t" or "Groo-ay,"

                                                            Moet has always been pronounced with the "t" and it is pronounced that way by
                                                            the winery in Champagne.

                                                            Just read up on the types of liaisons (forbidden, impossible, erratic). "Et" in French
                                                            is its own animal, and proper names (Gruet) can add to the confusion.

                                                            1. re: maria lorraine

                                                              You're completely correct about the conjunction "et". I was just saying that liaison after proper names is forbidden/impossible/erratic. Believe me, I've read up on this, up to here.

                                                              1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                Agree with DeppityDawg.My language is french, although from Quebec so a slightly different one. Still, some words are supposed to have liaisons (though in Quebec we pronounce almost none of them), however proper names are untouched and remain the same, with no liaisons "applied". Pronounciation of proper names varies but normally the people who have them get to decide how they want it. Like this girl I knew who's last name was Cochon which translates to "pig" so she insisted on a different pronounciation of it.

                                                        3. re: 53latour

                                                          I'm happy to hear that i've been saying Gruet correctly, It's one of my faves.

                                                          Whoever gave you the Moet explanation had it just about backwards, as ML explains.

                                                      1. Beyond Moet being pronounced Moette, I think most English speakers would
                                                        be horrified by the French pronounciation of Piper Heidsieck (pee-pehr
                                                        hide-seek) .

                                                        1. Disregarding the T, the diaresis over the E might be necessary, or in Dutch the name would be pronounced "Moot", rhyming roughly with boot.

                                                          1. Slightly OT, but does anyone know how to say Freixenet?

                                                            9 Replies
                                                            1. re: calliope_nh

                                                              Catalan: fruh-shuh-NET
                                                              Spanish: fray-shay-NET

                                                              I believe it is a Dutch name and is properly spelled with two little dots over the "x", which were a gift from the King of France.

                                                              1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                Most Americans I know (and have heard) say Fresh-uh-NAY. I don't say anything because I don't care for their cava.

                                                                1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                  Freixenet is not Dutch it's Catalan. The name comes from the word Freixeneda which is the name of the property from which Freixenet orginiates and, I believe, means ash (freixe) forest in Catalan.

                                                                  1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                    Makes sense seeing that Fresno is Spanish for ash tree.

                                                                    1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                      Here's, most likely, a lot more than you ever wanted to know about the history of Freixenet.


                                                                      1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                        I read Deppity Dawg's post as a riff on the Moët discussion, the clincher being the dots over the X, which doesn't happen in the real world. Joke, in other words.

                                                                        1. re: Akitist

                                                                          Well, I guess I didn't gauge very well which parts of DeppityDawg's post were sarcasm and which weren't. That'll teach me.

                                                                        2. re: SnackHappy

                                                                          <Freixenet is not Dutch it's Catalan.> ????

                                                                          In any case, their Cordon Negro is something I would decline to drink. Ugh.

                                                                    2. Is my face red!!!! I've been mispronouncing "Moet" for at least 40 years. And I really should have known better; my husband and I visited the Moet et Chandon cellars waaaaay back in 1972. Oh, well -- I guess we're never too old to learn something new.

                                                                      1. I have been saying it moay because I'M used to pronouncing words that end with et as ay and words that end with ette as ette. Personally though, if the makers say it's ette than I'M changing my ways. I am very happy to have learned this and this thread was really interesting

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: cactusette

                                                                          I know this is a very old thread but I watched an interview with the Moet family years ago and they said there name is often mispronounced especially by Americans. And as many have a already stated, the "t" is not silent.