Zak had suggested a Cassoulet and (mostly) SW wines outing at La Sirene forlast night- I mean, what's better on a cold March night? Except I'm wishing I had worn shorts as I make my way from subway station. I greet my friendFred outside and go in to discover Jay, Megan, Zak, and Ramon are already there. I'm told a corked Albarino (do Ferreiro I think) was disposed of before I sat down.

I enjoyed the cassoulet despite the late spring weather. And I enjoyed manyof the wines, though there were no home runs this night:

2008 Chidaine "Clos Baudoin" Vouvray
Dry, though with a hint of burnt sugar and honey. Lemon, mineral, quite enjoyable though very young. Went well with my octopus appetizer. B+

2010 Jamet Cotes du Rhone
Dark berry fruit, juicy, a touch of meat. I didn't even know Jamet made a CdR. B

1985 Piero Talenti "Pian di Conte" Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
This was showing its age a bit(with some slight pruney notes), but also a lot of class. Leathery, dried black cherry, red licorice, good length. B+

1995 Ch. Montus (Madiran)
Tannins,herbs, and a bit of spice. I think there's a bit of brett here, though not bothersome. B

1995 Ch. Montus Prestige (Madiran)
This had some time in decanter before return to bottle for train trip, which helped though there is still plenty of structure there. Cigarbox, sandalwood, and cassis. Good length and a plush mouthfeel, without seeming spoofy.I remark that Tannat seems to handle wood better than most grapes. B+

2007 Bouscasse Madiran
OK,I take back what I said re tannat handling oak. This is nothing but oak and tannin over a bit of confected fruit. C

1996 Bouscasse Vieilles Vignes (Madiran)
Fully mature, dark fruit, morphing into some quite Bordeaux-like. B+/B

2001 Bouscasse Vieilles Vignes (Madiran)
Younger and rougher than the 96, but some quite attractive dark fruit and Ienjoyed this. B

2000 Etxegaraya " Cuvee Lehengoa" Irouleguy
Fading fruit, but good acids keeping it alive, some tannin still, flower and mineral notes. B

2000 Clos de Gamot "Cuvee des Vignes Centenaires" Cahors
I just found this tannic and stolid, maybe my palate was shot. B-/C+

I didn't take any notes on the 2 sweet wines, but didn't care much for the 2009 Andrea Occhipinti MonteMaggiore Lazio Rosso (prejudice perhaps, I'm not really a big drinker of sweet reds). I slightly preferred the
2010 Causse Marines Grains de Folie Douce(Gaillac) , but wasn't crazy for it, but as noted by that point palate was shot.

Fun night with good group.

Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine,B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.