A steak is not a steak without a thoughtfully chosen glass of wine. That's especially true when you're enjoying a prime cut of authentic A5 Wagyu beef. As one of the most luxurious and exquisite classes of meat in the world, Wagyu deserves to be paired with the best of the best. In other words, don't pair a brilliantly marbled Wagyu ribeye with a bottle of Tuesday night wine. Not to stress, though. We can help you decide which wine to combine with a mouthwatering cut of authentic Wagyu.
Complementing the Flavors of Wagyu
To find that perfect pairing, we must first look at the main act - the Wagyu itself. Beloved for its abundant marbling, unequalled tenderness and delicate, buttery flavor, Wagyu beef stands apart from all the rest. Rich, fatty and decadent, this is a beef that pairs perfectly with more vibrant and acidic medium- and full-bodied wines.
With that being said, the Wagyu's exceptional flavor experience means you want to look for a wine that complements rather than overshadows. This is not the time to break out your most expensive Côtes Du Rhône (though the French aisle is a good place to start). The Wagyu alone is celebration enough.
Here are some ideal selections:
- Syrah (Shiraz). One of the most popular wine pairings for Wagyu, shiraz offers a desirable medium to full-bodied profile with pleasant notes of pepper, mint and smoke, which beautifully balances the subtle, sophisticated flavor of the beef.
- A Right-Bank Bordeaux, such as one from St-Émilion or Pomerol. Right-bank Bordeauxs are predominantly Merlot-based and bring a soft mouthfeel and a less acidic flavor. Rich, fruity and sometimes described as "satiny," any Bordeaux would make a fine choice if you're going for an exceptionally luxurious experience.
- Cabernet sauvignon. Why complicate things? Cab and steak have long been a popular pair, in part because this wine offers juicy, fruity notes that play well against the savoriness of the beef. Go for a big, bold wine, as the tannins tend to complement fattier meats quite well.
- Sangiovese. Let's not forget about Italy. A hearty glass of Chianti is a great choice. This Tuscan variety is earthy, rustic, fruity and savory, offering high levels of tannins and a perky acidity that works well with more decadent, fatty cuts of meat.
- Merlot. Unlike the aforementioned Sangiovese and cabernet sauvignon, merlot is relatively low on the tannin scale, but that doesn't mean it should be discounted. It's fruity, juicy and well-known to play well with umami flavors, making it a good choice for your grand Wagyu pairing.
What About White Wine?
Naturally, like any good cut of red meat, a gorgeously grilled slab of Wagyu beef goes best with a classic red. With that being said, white wine shouldn't be off the table entirely. In fact, due to the meat's buttery flavor, some people even prefer to pair Wagyu with a zestier white. If you do want to go this route, we recommend going for a full-bodied white with fairly high acidity to complement the buttery flavor of the beef. A full-bodied chardonnay, for example, would be apropos.
A Truly Versatile Selection
Ultimately, one of the things we adore about Wagyu is that it's exceptional in a very approachable way. Its universally appealing flavor makes it suitable for pairing with all kinds of wines. We recommend trying a few different vintages to see which one you like best.