Rosé is often known as “pink wine,” but just how pink is pink? If you’re only drinking pale rosés, you’re limiting yourself to one side of the rosé taste spectrum. Rosé can range from peach colored to nearly red, and you should be drinking it in every color. Here’s how different shades of rosé taste from lightest to darkest.

Provence rosés are primarily made from Grenache grapes, which are often blended with Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. They’ll typically have bright flavors like sweet berries, watermelon, grapefruit, and freshly chopped herbs. Provence produces the most dry rosé in the world and is a wine store staple.

Pinot Noir rosé is a shade darker than Provence rosé, but shares a lot of the same fruit notes, such as strawberries and melon. It’s also similarly bright and acidic. However, Pinot Noir rosé is a bit earthier than rosé from Provence. It also lacks that “flower” taste found in the dainty Provence rosés.

Tempranillo rosés are a little spicier than Provence rosés or Pinot Noir rosés, but still have those same refreshing berry tastes. Much like Rioja (which is made from Tempranillo grapes), Tempranillo rosé will have that telltale green pepper flavor. Tempranillo rosé also shares the same floral quality found in rosé from Provence.

White Zinfandel is sweet, bright pink rosé that’s developed a little bit of a reputation as being sweet and basic due to its low price point and accidental invention. However, tropical flavors such as pineapple and banana make a great accompaniment to buttery pasta, or provide a nice foil to crisp vegetable-based dishes and anything that involves a tart, sharp pickled flavor.

White Merlot is quite similar to White Zinfandel in production and taste. It’s sweet and tastes like a raspberry tart or another decadent berry-forward dessert, like jam crepes. Like White Zinfandel, you can use it with similarly rich foods or pair it with sour foods to contrast the sweetness with stark, acidic flavors.

Sangiovese rosé has pink undertones as opposed to hues of orange. This vibrant wine strikes a delightful balance between dryness and fruit-forward flavor. You’ll get a mouth full of cranberries, raspberries, and honeydew.

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are used in rosé from all over the world. A bit darker than rosé made from Sangiovese and Tempranillo grapes, Cab Sauvignon rosé boasts hints of sweet, tangy citrus in addition to savory flavors such as leather, tobacco, and pepper. For all of those robust flavors, this rosé is crisp and acidic. You can even pair Cabernet Sauvignon rosé with light seafood or a diced veggie platter.

Syrah rosé is dark red – a clear indicator of the grapes from which it’s made. Syrah is a very tannic grape, so it produces a more hearty rosé. However, in addition to strength, Syrah rosé is full of mouthwatering purple fruit. Expect plums, dried cherries, and fresh blueberries mingling with hints of smoke and spice. This is great with stews that have both savory and sweet elements, like meat and ripe tomato.

Montepulciano rosé is a deep ruby color. In fact, it’s labeled “cerasuolo,” which means cherry red. This wine is medium bodied, with sophisticated spices and fruit you might add to mulled wine. Think cloves, cinnamon, orange peel, and dried fruit. Montepulciano rosé is made in Italy’s Abruzzo region, where the pigment-rich Montepulciano grape skins easily color the juice in a short amount of time.

Tavel is a region of the Rhône Valley dedicated to exclusively making rosé. Comprised mainly of Grenache grapes, this is the rosé for red wine lovers. Tavel rosé is hearty, spicy, and full of assertive tannins. It’s a pink wine that can actually stand up to meats and other strong flavors and textures. Tavel rosé is very dark, its intense color indicative of the powerful taste in the bottle.


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Wine’s transporting experience is one of the reasons we continually come back for more. Taste a great Rioja, and you’re instantly taken to the sun-drenched, rolling hills of northern Spain. Pop the cork of a Tasmanian sparkler, and boom—you’re standing in the crystalline water of Cole’s Bay. Tasting wine is a trip unto itself.

Yet there’s something to be said for the connection made when we travel to the place in which great wine is made, and the insight that experience can offer us regarding what’s in the glass.

Each year, editors of Wine Enthusiast  traipse the globe in search of the world’s most exciting wine destinations. From the iconic Old World to surprising newcomers, the following list should shape your travel plans for the year to come.

Finger Lakes

FingerlakesWithin the world of fine wines, the Finger Lakes wine region in upstate New York is a soon-to-be revealed secret. Nestled amidst bucolic farmland and the spindly glacial lakes for which the region is named, it’s home to some of the best cool-climate wines in America. Known particularly for world-class Riesling, it’s also home to an increasingly diverse array of wines, from Grüner Veltliner to Teroldego. Over 100 wineries surround the three main lakes, Cayuga, Seneca and Keuka. But with spectacular sights and a blossoming local food culture, the region is unlikely to stay hidden for long. —Anna Lee C. Iijima


PiedmontLocated in northwest Italy and bordering Switzerland and France, Piedmont is Italy’s second-largest region, and the most mountainous. The majestic, snow-capped Alps make a stunning backdrop to the rolling, vine-covered hills. And these aren’t just any vineyards. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June 2014, vineyards in the Langhe, Roero and Monferrato areas are amongst the most celebrated in Italy. They’re home to famed reds made from Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto, as well as Moscato d’Asti, a lightly frothy dessert wine. Piedmont, which means “foot of the mountain,” is also a culinary paradise, famed for its rare white truffles. Throw in outstanding lodgings, and you have a wine lover’s dream destination. —Kerin O’Keefe 

Hawkes Bay

HawkesbayThis bucolic region excels at classic Bordeaux varieties, while Syrah is angling to become the area’s flagship wine. Beyond the bottle, however, the landscape, food and people are, as the country’s marketing slogan campaign says, 100% pure New Zealand. In this grape-growing paradise, rumpled hills sprinkled with sheep are intersected by rivers and hug a spectacular curved bay along the Pacific coast of the North Island, while sheltering ranges tuck vineyards in from the west. Warm, dry summers and long autumns—mixed with a maritime climate—keep grapes healthy and happy. Because Kiwis have a strong affinity for the outdoors, athletically inclined wine lovers can pursue both health and happiness, cycling a network of well-organized biking trails between winery visits and farm-to-table repasts. —Lauren Mowery

Rhône Valley

France’s second-largest wine-growing area is vastly diverse. Breathtakingly beautiful villages and well-tended vineyards line the region’s 13 wine trails, highlighting the different landscapes of the Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages. Starting at the Camargue, the routes head up through Provence toward Lyon, providing insight into culture and winegrowing along the way. The Rhône Valley covers roughly 150 miles and 5,500 estates, and it’s traditionally demarcated between the narrow north and sprawling south. You’ll need to make some tough choices, depending on the length of your trip. —Louise Hurren


Expect the unexpected in Orlando. Shrugging off its just-for-kids image, it sports brag-inducing eats and world-class wine experiences, particularly in new neighborhoods like the Mills 50 District and Winter Park. Ricky Ly, author of The Food Lovers’ Guide to Orlando, points to nominations of several local chefs for James Beard Foundation awards to illustrate the city’s culinary chops. “From hidden speakeasies like The Pharmacy, to the Basque-style restaurant, Txokos Basque Kitchen, serving cola-and-wine-braised kalimotxos pork belly, there is something to be found for every wine and food lover just outside the theme park gates.” —Alexis Korman


GaliciaOccupying the northwestern corner of Spain, Galicia is a unique part of the country, a region settled by Visigoths and Celts, where the residents still speak a language known as Gallego. Galicia’s four provinces comprise Spain’s emerald oasis, where copious amounts of rainfall during winter and spring swell the region’s rivers and turn the countryside green. A major part of the verdant landscape includes vineyards, with the wine regions of Rías Baixas, Ribeiro, Ribeira Sacra, Valdeorras and Monterrei all offering excellent touring and tasting opportunities. Add Galicia’s world-class seafood, and the region qualifies as a top destination for adventurous wine-and-food lovers. —Michael Schachner


OkanagancopyThe license plates read “Beautiful British Columbia.” Ubiquitous ads call it “Super, Natural.” But taglines don’t do justice to the splendor and variety of Canada’s southwestern province. One shining jewel within the region is the Okanagan Valley, located about 240 miles east of Vancouver. Located between the Coastal and Monashee mountain ranges, the valley is anchored by a series of narrow, crystalline lakes. Long a center for agriculture, it’s also a four-season outdoor playground. Water sports, golf, winter sports, hiking, biking—you name it, the Okanagan has it going full blast. But it’s the 131 wineries, more than 8,000 acres of vineyard and broad range of wines that make this one of the greatest wine touring experiences in the world. —Paul Gregutt

Loire Valley

LoirecopyAs if designed for riverside picnics, the Loire River flows by vineyards from the mountains of central France to the Atlantic Ocean. The best and most diverse vines are rooted in the Loire’s heart, in the Anjou and Touraine regions, which are but a 90-minute train ride from Paris. It was here, in the 16th century, that French classic cuisine first found its great expression. This is France’s best wine discovery region for big castles, medieval cities and small family wineries. Tasting Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc here will forever change your perceptions of these grapes. —Roger Voss


MendocinoMendocino County has 107 wineries and more than 17,000 acres of vineyards, but it draws visitors for other pleasures like giant redwoods, Dungeness crab, wild chanterelle mushrooms, an exhilarating rocky coast and, yes, marijuana cultivation. Mendocino is laid-back, to say the least. A two-plus hour drive north of San Francisco through Sonoma County, traffic is practically nonexistent except for logging trucks. Tasting rooms and restaurants are rarely crowded, but lodging options are scarce except on the coast near the New England-esque town of Mendocino. Ukiah, in the warmer, drier inland valley along Highway 101, is the biggest city, with a whopping population of 16,000. Since 95 percent of the land in Mendocino County is rolling or mountainous, it offers plenty of bends in the road to explore. —Jim Gordon


Istriacopy (1)The wedge-shaped Adriatic peninsula known as Istria has a rich and dramatic history. It was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, then ruled by Italy, later incorporated into Yugoslavia and is today governed by Croatia. Ninety percent of Istria is in Croatia, with the remainder in neighboring Slovenia and Italy. Remnants of a distant Roman past, Venetian Empire architecture, picturesque hilltop villages, panoramic sea views, year-round festivals, inspired cuisine and fantastic wines are all reasons to put Istria on your bucket list of wine regions to visit. —Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen

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