Match of the week
Steak and sake
As with most ingredients the best pairing for steak is going to depend on the way it’s cooked. For the most part you're probably going to reach for a red wine but we were in Japan and so the automatic go to was sake.
The accompaniments were more important than the steak itself though that was a couple of magnificent cuts of heavily marbled Kobe beef which we were lucky enough to enjoy twice - at Medium Rare at the Hotel Oriental in Kobe and Biftek Kawamura in Akashi
There were two elements of the dish that particularly kicked in with the sake we were drinking, both umami-rich: fried garlic chips and soy sauce. On both occasions the steak was followed by fried rice.
The style that worked best was Akashi Tai’s Honjozo Genshu Tokubetsu* a full-flavoured sake with, at 19%, a higher alcohol content than some lighter more delicate sakes. (Honjozo generally indicates a higher degree of alcohol, genshu that no water has been added and tokubetsu that it’s a premium sake where the rice has been polished to 60% of its original size. It can be served cool (which is how we had it with the steak) or warm.
Serving steak this way is actually a great way to enjoy it as the garlic and soy enhances the Maillard reaction you get from grilling meat and umami-rich sake amplifies that.
*there’s a good explanation of the style in Sake Times
For wine matches see The best wine pairing for steak.
I travelled to Japan as a guest of the Akashi sake brewery.
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