Top chef reveals the food and wine pairing mistakes home cooks make

Top chef reveals the five wine pairing mistakes home cooks make – and why you should NEVER drink champagne with dessert

  • Whether you’re red or white drinker, you’ve probably been pairing wine wrong
  • Chef Davide Incardona shared mistakes you’re making when pairing with food
  • The executive chef of Corso Brio also revealed how to correctly decant wine 

Whether you’re a red wine connoisseur or a white wine snob, you’ve probably been pairing them wrong your whole life. 

And according to Sydney’s top Italian chef Davide Incardona, you are much better off pairing flavours, rather than colours, to get the most out of your culinary experience.

With the help of sommelier Francesco Giordanetto, the executive chef of Barangaroo’s fine dining restaurant Corso Brio has shared the five pairing mistakes home cooks make – and how to correctly decant wine.

‘The secret is to pair the characteristics of the food and wine. You want to find a nice balance between acidity, sweetness, sourness, and fat,’ Davide told Daily Mail Australia.

According to Sydney’s top Italian chef Davide Incardona (pictured), you are much better off pairing flavours, rather than colours, to get the most out of your culinary experience

Which wine glass should be used when drinking which wine? 

This is a basic rule to follow:

Red wine: Larger glass with a fuller body

White wine: Skinnier glass with a smaller body

Champagne/sparkling wine: Flute

Pairing white wine with fish only

One of the common mistakes foodies make is pairing white wine with fish only. 

‘This is a common mistake people make based on a “general” rule they heard from someone,’ Davide said.

‘The next time you have Italian or Mediterranean cuisine with plenty of herbs spices or tomatoes cooked with fish, try a light Pinot Noir or Etna Rosso. I promise you this will help enhance the flavour.’

Serving champagne with dessert

Davide said you should never drink champagne with dessert because you’ll end up with an unusual taste.

‘The sweetness of a dessert only highlights the acidity of champagne or sparkling wines,’ he explained.

‘If you have only ever tried champagne in this way, then that could be the reason you might not like it.’

Born and raised in the northern Italian city of Brescia, chef Davide Incardona’s wealth of culinary experience is attributed to his traditional Italian upbringing. 

Having observed his family pour love and passion into cooking from a young age has shaped how Incardona creates his menus at Bel & Brio.

‘Our focus is to bring something hearty to the table with its own individual character that nourishes all senses. We want to make sure our guests feel like they are in Italy and savour every bite,’ he said.

Bel & Brio has launched a new in-house fine dining restaurant Corso Brio.

Selecting wines based on ‘common’ knowledge

Most wine drinkers believe that red wine should be paired with meat such as beef and whites couple well with fish like barramundi or cod – but this isn’t always the case.

‘When I say this, I mean that most people simply select wines based on the thinking that red wine goes with meat, white with fish and prosecco with starter dishes,’ Davide said.

‘There are so many wines to choose from that, unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Think about the structure of the wine and of the dish, including the fats, acid, sweetness, and texture that might be in the dish.

‘It can be confusing so the best way to select a good wine with your meal is to ask your restaurant sommelier or local wine expert.’

Pairing oysters with Barossa Shiraz

‘The freshness of the oyster and the structure of this full-bodied red wine will never complement one another,’ Davide warned.

 As experts and sommeliers will know, there are rules and etiquette surrounding the process of pairing food dishes with wine

Not asking for help

This may be an obvious one but foodies always tend to avoid asking questions.

‘The sommelier at the restaurant you are dining at or the wine connoisseur at your local wine store is there to help you and answer all of your questions, even if you think they are silly,’ Davide said.

‘Pairing wine and food is not simple – and a beautiful dinner can easily be ruined by choosing the wrong choice of wine. Sommeliers are passionate about wine and they are more than happy to make sure you pick the right one.’

How do you correctly decant wine? 

To correctly decant wine, you’ll either need a large jar or a wine decanter (the larger the vessel, the faster the wine will get the oxygen needed).

Hold the wine from the base of the bottle in the palm of your hand and pour it slowly in the decanter. 

Pay close attention to what’s being poured and avoid pouring any sediment into the decanter. You’ll usually find the sediment at the bottom of the bottle so pay special attention when you’re nearing the end of the bottle. 

You can also purchase wine aerators, which will help filter out the sediment. Rich and full-bodied wines like Barbera, Merlot and Shiraz will usually need more time to breathe in the decanter, but as a general indication, 20-30 minutes is good enough for the wine to achieve the right amount of oxygen. With that being said, some wines can take up to three hours.

The reason we decant wine is that it usually needs oxygen for the aromas and flavours to really come alive. This is why some people might find that wine – especially reds – can taste very different from your first sip to when it has been sitting out a little longer. Decanting wine also helps to separate the sediment, helping you to get a nice, smooth glass of wine.

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