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A friend of ours has been sitting on two nice bottles of shiraz for a while now - 83 Grange and 96 Hill of Grace. He's been meaning to drink them but just haven't found the right occasion. Friday evening, he made me a deal. If I can come up with a menu and cook the meal, they'd bring the wine.

I'd like to come up with a menu that would be suitable for the wines, although I'm sure the wines would be great regardless of what we pair with it. I've had Command and Dead Arm and some other really nice shiraz but these are out of my league. I've never had either. I've searched thru all the shiraz pairing threads but I wanted some more input. I don't know if there would be other ideas if there were specific wines in mind.

Cheese - An fatty cheese sounds like it would work well. I like Gouda but we have someone who doesn't do well with cow's milk cheeses. Other suggestions?

Entree - Lamb seems to be a popular choice but I'm not a big lamb person. I might do more than one meat. Steak au poivre seems like another popular choice but the last thing I want to do is overpower the wine.

Sides? I have no idea. I was thinking of a mac and cheese but I'm not sure. Veggies? Again, no clue. I'm more of a meat and starch kinda guy. I wanna have a complete meal though, because I think that would be nice to hang out for a few hours and enjoy the whole experience. I'm not sure what other courses should be served. I'm also not sure what the pairings should be or the order the wines should be drunk. I have a some shiraz in my cellar - Command, Dead Arm, Killakanoon R, Langmeil Freedom, and Bella's Garden are probably the most notable. If it would be better to open with one of them, we can do that. I also don't mind going out and getting something if the situation calls for it.

I can cook a little, but I can't really make anything fancy. I can grill. I can cook a steak in a cast iron pan and finish it in the oven. Things like that. French technique is probably beyond me. I will definitely test this menu, probably more than once, before we have them over and do the real thing. Any suggestions are appreciated. Recipes are welcome too.

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Lamb is the way to go for sure. there are some threads for rack of lamb and other cuts here that you should check out. Second choice would be a slow-cooked pot roast or something rich like that.

I wouldn't worry too much about overpowering those wines, but stay away from anything with too much acidity, not because it will necessarily overpower the wines, but the match is not ideal and those wines should be so special that you will want to drink them at their best. Be sure to give them some air too - maybe check the TORB website (google TORB and wine), which is my go-to for advice on anything Oz-wine-related.
Do you eat pork? Maybe a roasted loin prepared might work well. I might do a stuffed version made with saute of spinach and asiago cheese. Some basic broiled rosemary potato wedges as one side, or even a garlic mashed?

Another idea is stuffed double cut pork chops (as above) I do this once a month and always a hit. Let me know if you want my recipe.

I'd make the effort to track down some top quality Australian or NZ lamb chops. If you want to do a second meat, get some nice thick pork chops as well. I'd do some type of rosemary and garlic rub, but I'm speaking from personal preference. Sides? Pick a couple that won't be too much effort and complement the grilled meats.

For starters pick up a couple different N. Cal cheeses and pair with an Aussie Semillon or NZ Sauv blanc.

Make the theme OZ and Cali food and wine.

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