Odd Couple: Chef Graham Dodds Spills the Secrets to Pairing Wagyu Beef with Chardonnay

Central 214 Wagyu dinner with Duckhorn Wines-25 Central 214 Wagyu dinner with Duckhorn Wines-38

Earlier this week, Graham Dodds (Central 214) teamed up with local rancher Carroll Lewis of Circle L Wagyu , Ashley O’Leary of Duckhorn Wine Company and Leah Young of Republic National for a kick-ass Wagyu-Duckhorn-Dodds dinner. Three dozen of us diners found out first-hand why these cows are even better tasting than Japanese-sourced Wagyu.

It’s the way we feed them,” says Carroll. “We keep their blood sugar very steady so they’re never stressed and develop healthy.


Dodd’s pulled out most of the stops this time, going so far as to pair Wagyu hanger steak (the richest. beefiest cut of the cow) with Migration chardonnay. Wait, what? Yes, he did–he paired beefy, rare steak with a California chardonnay.

Like you, I would have thought this pairing would have been a disaster. I’d have expected the lime and green apple flavors in the chardonnay to clash with the red meat, exploding into a million bloody pieces. But Dodds is too clever for that. He seasoned the steak with Thai chiles, mint, cucumber and a squeeze of lime, bringing everything into focus.

After that, the short ribs (with arugula and roasted grapes), the seared sirloin (with roasted mushrooms) and the mincemeat pie never even had a chance.

(Even the Worst Vegetarian Ever said she liked it.)