On the July 4th holiday, my mother-in-law gave me a Christmas gift: a Wagyu A5 steak. I had been searching for a good reason to spend $99 a pound for a steak, and my sweet mother-in-law put me out of my misery by bringing over a one-pound prize specimen to share. By not spending the money myself, it was easy to justify its cost -- sort of like having your steak and eating it too.
Japanese Wagyu is arguably the best beef on the market. It's A5 is the highest grade that can be awarded for quality. The pampered cows are fed only grain and rice. It is high in amino acids and contains no unsaturated fats. It's almost healthy.
But, just looking at it seems to stiffen the arteries. It is so marbled that you wonder if there is any red meat there.
I know, this is a wine column. I digress. Given the price of the meat, I pulled out a 12-year-old Grand Puy-Ducasse. Had I known what I was about to eat, I may have chosen a white wine.
After exhausting the knowledge base online, I cut the steak into six slices and used the trimmed fat to oil the sizzling pan. I carefully exposed each side of each piece to the pan and left some of it in the pan longer so that I could taste the difference between medium rare and medium.
Although the advice varied, most critics advised medium. They were correct. To get the most of the marble, the marble needs to do its thing with more heat. The result? OMG. It was steak foie gras. Rich, tender, tasty and with the texture of a stick of butter. It is so rich you don't want more than a few ounces. Of course, I ate up what others didn't want, but was nauseous the next day. If you have a generous mother-in-law who buys you an A5, go easy.
Because the food was so rich, a Bordeaux just didn't seem to pair well. I like to match wine with texture and there wasn't much for a tannic red wine to work on with the A5. I would have been better off with a Gigondas or a red Burgundy.
Next time I'll get it right. Well, at this price, maybe there won't be a next time.