Dinner with a good friend in lower Manhattan last night provided great company, great food, and wide ranging discussion.  It was a bit surreal to be downtown on that solemn day, but there was a feeling of quiet contentment that was practically tangible. As I left for the night,  the parking attendant remarked, it was quiet here today, very peaceful compared to last year….   
We made our way to Bistro La Sirene, a casual French Bistro tucked away downtown that boasts BYOB and in Manhattan, that’s a rare treasure.

Firm in the knowledge that we’d each end up with the warming, southern French stew, cassoulet – we brought along two red wines worthy to the match. 
The first we tried, was from the South of France – Cahors.  The 2004 Le Cedre Cahors. This was 100% Malbec, despite several other grapes being allowed in the blend.  The wine is an inky purple with a violet hue to the rim.  Aromas opened up nicely over the course of the dinner to include dark, black fruits, spice, and a slight pineyness.  In the mouth the wine is slightly austere, but with a good core of ripe fruit, a spicy peppery nuance and moderate tannins that are ripe, but still a bit chewy and chalky on the finish. The fruit came forward even more with the fat in the cassoulet.  A perfect match indeed!  92 points. 
The second wine was Italy’s answer to a Northern Rhone and the wine that put Cortona on the map as sub-region of Tuscany.  The 2004 Allessandro Podere il Bosco Syrah is also dark purple in the glass and throwing a noticeable sediment.  Aromas of dark fruits, leather, pepper and herbs combine nicely, but the fruit on the nose seems a bit muted. On the palate, the wine is also austere, more so than I recall from previous vintages and displays the complexity shown on the nose but to with as much intensity as I would have expected. This wine also plumped up alongside the decadent cassoulet.  Solid, but I’ve come to expect more here.  90 points, about $40. 

2004 Il Bosco Syrah  – 2004 Le Cedre Cahors

That night, on the way home, I was able to snap the following picture of the New York skyline, lit up for the night.  Speaks for itself…….

Freedom Tower at left: Red, White, & Blue alongside the Tribute of Lights

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