Rose wine and food pairing – Melon, prawn and prosciutto

What goes well with rose wine?

Rose wine is a gateway blend for many wine newcomers thanks to its floral aromas and beautiful pink colour.

But that doesn’t mean rose wine goes well with absolutely everything.

The majority of rose wines are drunk within a year of their vintage date. Crisp fruit aromas are strong in a young rose – there’s also ample acidity. But the delicate nature of rose can easily be overpowered in a food and wine pairing.

Here are the key characteristics of rose wines:

  • Fruity aroma profile including strawberry, citrus, melon, cherry and fresh flowers
  • Light pink colour due to the skin-contact winemaking method, or the saignée method
  • Rose wines are often dry – like Grenache, Sangiovese and Tempranillo – but can also be subtly sweet – like White Zinfandel and Pinot Noir – or even spiced – like Syrah Rosé and Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Most rose wines are young and unoaked to retain their fresh and fruity flavours and crisp acidity, but you can also find barrel-fermented aged rose wines with softer acidity

The question of what goes well with rose wine will depend on the above factors.

There’s also wine terroir to consider, with warmer climate Australian rose wines showing more prominent fresh fruit and berry flavours and colder climate French rose wines more complex and subtle.

Below, we’ll deconstruct a rose wine and food pairing professionally designed for UMAMU Estate 2018 Rose.

Our Rose from Margaret River in Western Australia has redcurrant fruit flavours, but it’s unusual as an aged rose that’s spent four months in French oak barrels. The ageing gives it spicy, cedary and tobacco aromas with a softness to its acid and texture.

Rose wine and food pairing

There are three methods to pair wine with food:

  • Pair body and texture
  • Pair beneficial flavours
  • Pair aromatic compounds

We’ve had a Cordon Bleu trained create a perfect pairing for UMAMU Estate 2018 Rose. Let’s run through each of the three methods.

Pair body and texture

UMAMU Estate 2018 Rose is medium bodied thanks to four months in French oak barrels. This adds texture and complexity and allows the rose to pair with richer dishes and ingredients – like the cooked prawns and cured prosciutto in this rose wine and food pairing.

Without oaking, a young rose would pair best with light salads, light pasta dishes or very light desserts.

Pair beneficial flavours

A key wine pairing rule is this: the wine should be sweeter than the food.

Most roses – UMAMU Estate 2018 Rose included – are not sweet wines. But saltiness from the prawns and prosciutto as well as bitterness from the rocket and mesclun leaves help to reduce the sweetness of the melon. Pairing just melon and rose would leave the rose tasting thin and overwhelmingly dry or acidic.

Pair aromatic compounds

Maltol or ethyl maltol is a naturally occurring compound with a fragrant caramel or butterscotch aroma. Oaking allows for wines to gain maltol compounds from the wood. Maltol is also a prominent aromatic compound in cured hams and is often added as an artificial flavour enhancer.

The aromatic synergy in this rose wine and food pairing would not work so well with a young rose that’s not been oaked.

Hexyl acetate is a dominant aroma compound in fruit and particularly in cantaloupe or rockmelon. The musty aroma pairs well with the fruity fragrances in UMAMU Estate 2018 Rose which is made from 82% fruit-forward Cabernet Franc and 18% Merlot.

P.S. – You can read our complete guide to understanding food & wine pairing here.

Rose with melon, prawn and prosciutto salad


  • 3 large handfuls of mesclun salad leaves
  • 3 tablespoons lemon infused olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • salt & pepper to season
  • 500g medium cooked prawns, shelled
  • 120g prosciutto thinly sliced
  • 1/2 ripe rockmelon, skinned, segmented


  1. Place salad leaves into a large bowl. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard and honey together. Pour 2/3rds of the dressing over salad leaves and gently toss.
  2. In a large platter arrange salad leaves on the base of the platter, then artfully drape rockmelon, prawns and prosciutto on and around the salad leaves. Season and drizzle remaining dressing over the entire salad.
  3. Serve with a glass of UMAMU Estate 2018 Rose, an elegant semi dry rose that compliments the sweet mustiness of melon and the salty sweetness of prawns and prosciutto.

P.S. – You can buy UMAMU Estate 2018 Rose here.