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What Wine Goes With Kobe Beef?

If you’re serving Kobe beef then either you know your food, or you’re looking to impress. Either way, you want to make sure everything else in the meal is up to standard. This includes whatever drinks you’ll be having with it.

When choosing a wine for Kobe beef what’s most important is finding a balance. The flavors and textures should complement each other, without the wine overshadowing.

Red is the classic choice, and a medium-bodied, smooth finishing, richly flavored wine is the way to go.

Our guide will help you understand how to choose a wine that complements Kobe beef. We cover the weight, finish, and flavor to look for, so you can make the right choice. The best pairing improves the taste and finish of both the wine and the beef.

What wine goes with Kobe beef?

The best wines to serve with Kobe beef are medium to full-bodied reds, such as a Shiraz (or Syrah), a Cabernet Sauvignon, or a Right-Bank Bordeaux. Red wines are traditionally served with red meats, and these are classic choices when serving Kobe beef.

However, before making a choice it’s important to understand why, to better clarify your decision. A cut of Kobe beef is a sublime meat.

The wine needs to match the class and flavor it presents. Kobe beef won’t be ruined by a bad wine choice, but a poor selection can distract from the elegant meat.

Due to the high level of marbling, Kobe beef has an irresistibly buttery, rich flavor, and a smooth texture. This smooth texture needs to sit on the palate, so you can appreciate how the meat feels akin to velvet. Any wine pairing needs to match this smoothness.

Those that don’t live up will disappoint, and detract from the finish of the beef. The satin texture of a Right-Bank Bordeaux pairs perfectly with Kobe. A choice like this is a particularly luxurious combination.

The buttery taste of Kobe beef is rich but delicate. Any wine pairing needs to be sure not to overpower the flavor. The boldness of a Cabernet Sauvignon complements the fattiness of a Kobe steak.

This is a classic wine and steak pairing, so it’s hard to go wrong. The fruitiness of a Cabernet Sauvignon works with the fatty, umami beef flavoring. A solid choice if it’s your first time eating or serving Kobe. 

Despite the smoothness, Kobe is still a substantial cut of meat. The exceptional marbling adds fattiness and weight. Any reds that are too light simply won’t match up. Look for a heavy Shiraz to complement the rich fat of the beef.

The peppery notes play with the savory beef, and the high acidity balances with the roundness of the butter flavor. A Shiraz ages well, and is a good choice if you’re serving Kobe beef rare.

Explore the cuts of Wagyu and Kobe available at Crowd Cow, to understand what goes into breeding and farming Wagyu. When you understand what makes the meat so special, you understand why you need a wine to match.

Can I drink white wine with Kobe beef?

It will come as a surprise to many to know that some prefer to pair Kobe beef with white wine. While red wine is the more traditional choice for red meats, it needs to match the beef on both texture, taste, and weight.

Many reds aren’t up to the task, and end up detracting from the meat with a sub-par, or too bold, finish.

To avoid the contrast of a disappointing red, a zesty white is the choice for some when eating Kobe beef. Look for those that are full-bodied, such as a Chardonnay, or a Meursault.

What do you drink with Wagyu?

Wagyu is a premium meat, so it deserves to be complemented with a premium wine. This means don’t crack open the bottle you picked up in the supermarket check-out line, but look for something of quality.

When purchasing Wagyu, quality is assured. Whatever you drink alongside needs to match.

The flavors of Wagyu beef are rich and buttery, but mild. Any wine pairing needs to complement the meat while not over shadowing it. Full-bodied reds are recommended to handle the weight of red meat, but be careful not to overpower the flavor.

Try a heavy Shiraz, a smooth Right-Bank Bordeaux, or a bold Cabernet Sauvignon. The flavor of Wagyu is almost universally appealing, so it goes well with many types of wine. If you can, play around with flavor and weight to see what you prefer.

Another, playful, option to try is Japanese sake. Sake is a fermented rice drink that originated in Japan, as did Wagyu beef. Sake can have an umami, or savory, taste that pairs well with the subtle sophistication of the beef.

The difference in finishes means sake produces a contrast, rather than a struggle to match, to the Wagyu.

For another bold choice, try an Old Fashioned cocktail. Made with whiskey and bitters, an Old Fashioned is rich and silky. There’s actually a specialty version of this cocktail available that is infused with Wagyu beef, so it’s clearly a good match.

The zest and spiciness of an Old Fashioned plays with the subtle flavors of the beef, without overshadowing them. A smooth finish to both appeals to the palate.

Perhaps most importantly is finding a drink you enjoy. Your favorite wine will only be improved by Wagyu. Wine pairing isn’t a science, it’s a matter of personal taste. Playing with choices and flavors can lead you to discover new elements of each to enjoy. 

If you’re trying Wagyu in a restaurant, ask what wines they recommend. They’re likely to have a few popular choices. Using our guide, you can choose a wine to draw out different aspects of the beef.

Whether that’s exceptional richness, the delectable weight, or the unbeatable finish. If you’re interested in trying Wagyu for the first time, CrowdCow have a large selection of Wagyu cuts available that pair perfectly with a range of wines. 



Richard is the founder of SteakBuff. He manages the team of expert writers on the site and is a foodie who loves eating steaks

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