Wagyu is the king of steaks and is widely considered to be one of the best cuts of meat in the world. There are a couple of differences between Wagyu and a regular ribeye or a sirloin steak. Wagyu is fatty, but the fat is integrated beautifully with the meat, giving it a wonderful buttery texture. This is a scenario where you want the flavor of the meat to come to the forefront, so surprisingly, rustic, fruity reds may not be the way to go. In order to enhance the meat, rather than overpowering it, experts recommend medium-bodied red wines, with a lot of subtle, nuanced flavor.
Wine Characteristics To Pair With Wagyu Steak
|Red and black fruits, subtle spices, leather and earth.
As with any meat dish, a dry red is the route to success. However, you’re going to want more nuance and subtlety when pairing with Wagyu. Medium tannin wines are ideal, though, with the right flavor profile, you can stray upwards into high tannin territory. Mouthfeel is also important, so keep an eye out for wines with silky textures that won’t overpower the delicate, melt-in-your-mouth texture of the meat.
Best Red Wine To Drink With Wagyu Steak
Due to the fact that Wagyu beef is usually expensive and difficult to get hold of, we’re exploring serious options in this article. If you like white wine, nobody is stopping you from trying it with Wagyu – but realistically, a glass of red is the way to harmony and gastronomic heaven.
The Rhone Valley is a great place to start the search for a perfect match. French Syrah is known for its lean, elegant style. It can be deeply nuanced, with elements of spice, tobacco and leather, and usually contains medium levels of acid, which is great for letting the beef express itself fully. If you opt for an Australian Shiraz, try to find one that isn’t overloaded with ripe fruit flavors – this might drown out the subtle earthy flavors of the meat.
Single-varietal Merlot certainly qualifies for pairing with Wagyu, thanks to its silky, easy-drinking texture. However, in this case, we’re specifically recommending a blend, from the Right Bank of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominated blends offer the perfect balance of nuanced flavors and velvety mouthfeel, ideal for enhancing a Wagyu steak without getting in the way.
Burgundy is often too delicate for pairing with steak, but with Wagyu, it’s a different story. Pinot Noir packs enough acid to stand up to the meat, and its wonderfully detailed, umami flavors are sure to harmonize with the exquisite taste of the meat. With fine dishes like this, subtlety is a keyword, and Pinot Noir from Burgundy is nothing if not subtle.
Cabernet and steak have always been close friends, and in the case of Wagyu, this versatile grape deserves a mention. We recommend sticking to French Cabernet Sauvignon. Hot climate versions from Napa Valley run the risk of overpowering the meat with their incredibly fruity character. Cabernet-dominated Bordeaux blends are known for being more nuanced, and provide enough tannins to chop through the buttery fat in Wagyu. If you can find the right blend, it can be a match made in heaven.
A quality Chianti from Tuscany is also a worthy pairing for Wagyu. Although it has a more rustic character, this is a medium-bodied wine with a lot of herby nuances, that can bring the best out of a Wagyu steak. Its high levels of tannin will work well with the integrated fat and will allow the flavor of the meat to shine through, without disrupting the meat’s buttery texture.
Best Wine To Drink With Wagyu Steak
We recommend saving your best bottles for a cut of Wagyu beef – it’s not exactly an everyday food. Medium to full-bodied reds are best, particularly those with delicate flavors. Here are our top five recommendations:
- Pinot Noir
- Merlot-based Bordeaux
- Cabernet Sauvignon-based Bordeaux