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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Reviews: Jean-Luc Baldès Esprit de Flore 2010 Cahors, St-Rémy VSOP Brandy and Tempo Tonight Hangover Nutrients

Esprit de Flore Cahors and Tempo Tonight

Cahors is the self-proclaimed "Capital of Malbec". It's a region in southwest France that claims to be the birthplace of the grape, with the wine nicknamed "The Black Wine of Cahors" because of its deep pigment. Most people know Malbec from its Argentinian success, where the altitude gives it thick skins and the terroir is a perfect fit, but it originates from France and is one of the grapes used in Bordeaux. And Cahors is my favorite expression of Malbec.

Esprit de Flore Cahors is a wine I've really been looking forward to writing a review about. This Cahors is the funnest, most interesting and complex $13 bottle of wine I've ever had. For awhile in 2013 I was absolutely obsessed with it. I would make one bottle last four hours and it would continually evolve throughout that time span, ending completely different from when it started, like a bottle worth much more than it cost. But it's not for everyone and you'll quickly see why.

I'll also be reviewing a product: Tempo Tonight, Fine Nutrition for Hangovers. I'll admit I'm kind of a light weight in the next-day department, and normally the day after drinking a whole bottle of wine I'm a big baby. I get all tired, cranky, sluggish, and lazy. And carrying around a throbbing headache if I didn't hydrate appropriately. So I'm the perfect subject to test this product. Tempo Tonight is a capsule thingy containing a bunch of different vitamins, minerals, herbs and enzymes in capsule form. All you do is "take two capsules before you head out and two when you get home." But we'll see if it actually works... with the help of St-Rémy VSOP Brandy.

So I take the capsules. They're kind of big but I got them down the pipes. Then I hop in the shower and wait enough time to simulate "heading out". Now for the wine!

The label has a weird sketch of a lady who's either really bored or trying to crack her neck or something. The back label says that it's 98% Malbec and 2% Merlot. The color of the wine is a dark daaaaaark purple. Almost black. Thus, "The Black Wine of Cahors". 

Here's where you're going to think I'm insane. Chances are you probably already do and I'm okay with that. But the nose of this wine just after opening is... sour milk, farm stable, horse manure and used aquarium gravel. I know it sounds bad but trust me: the stank on this wine is absolutely GLORIOUS!

The palate shows plum that hasn't quite fully ripened yet, earthy Cajun seasoning, and used aquarium gravel again. The acidity pops big time in the finish and causes serious salivation.

Shrek "Ogres are like onions"
But that's just the first pour! This wine is an evolver! It has layers! And every layer is awesome! Tell 'em, Shrek!

An hour later the sour milk aroma is still there but the other stankiness has pulled back and it's more smokey and licorice-y. The acidity has mellowed just a tad but it's still pretty big, and the body has rounded out. Flavors of fresh cranberry and plum are on the palate, as well as a fine dustiness. There's dark cherry on the finish past the heat and spiciness.

With the second hour things have really smoothed out. The sour milk has burned off and the acidity is tamed. The wine smells like chocolate covered cherries and barbecue sauce with a slight touch of hickory smoke. Dark cherries, plum and leather are on the palate. The finish is still pretty hot and tart. It's definitely more like what you're used to in Malbec but lighter and more... French.

The third hour introduces the flavors of black French Roast coffee and tomato. So it gains a bit of earthiness and fleshiness here. The black fruit it was starting to show revert back to red fruit with obviously tomato because I just said that, but also wild red cherries and the return of cranberry. Plum is on the nose for the first time and not at all on the palate, also for the first time. There's no smoke or stank on the nose. Sliced tomato sprinkled with ground pepper is my favorite aroma of this evolution, but there's also some dried green herbs and bell pepper.

The fourth hour it turns to pure homemade cranberry sauce fresh from the stove top. Holy crap is it soothing and comforting and huggable. And the perfect way to end a bottle.

This wine isn't for everybody unless you let it sit and open up. But if you're somebody that loves earthy, stanky wines like I do then you can appreciate all of its personalities. And even become addicted to it.

If you're on a budget and want a wine experience then you need to find Esprit de Flore Cahors. Again, this is the funnest, most interesting and complex $13 bottle of wine I've ever had. Wine's in that price range just don't change that drastically on the hour, in a good way, like this one. They usually fade.

Price: $13
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended.
(what does that mean?)

So what about Tempo Tonight? How did that go?

Well, I really wanted to try this product out so I didn't stop with the Cahors. I had gone and spread that wine out over four long hours! There was no other choice but to pick up the pace! So I moved on to my favorite affordable brandy.

I've never been a fan of hard alcohol. Sure, I had my spiced rum phase in my early 20's and my Jack Daniel's phase in my late 20's but that's to be expected. But overall the distilled spirit just wasn't working out for me. Until I made the decision to becomes a Certified Specialist of Spirits based solely on the fact that as a wine professional I should know something about brandy, being distilled wine and all.

It was then that I realized that I really enjoyed brandy, whether its connection to wine is coincidence or not. And through experimentation I realized that you really can't beat St-Rémy VSOP. Before you judge me, I know it's not the best brandy out there. But it's $12 and any other brandy at the $12 price point has a nose that's just intrusive and offensive. Plus they taste like sugar enhanced dog shit. That's the truth.

St-Rémy has a floral nose, caramel taffy and vanilla heaven with cream filling. It tastes like refined grapes... with caramel taffy and vanilla heaven with cream filling. As a proud American it pains me to say that being the top selling anything in America really means that it's crap. But St-Rémy's is the top selling French brandy in America for a reason: It's damn good.

I started with the Cahors at 8:15 pm, finished it at 12:45 am, and went hardcore on the brandy until 2:00 am. I ended the night definitely in an intoxicated state, way beyond my own comfort level to be honest, and I took the other two capsules before heading to my cozy warm bed, where I faced the wall and hugged the edge of the bed because I knew my wife would have nothing to do with my terrible brandy breath. So gross.

I woke up at 7:00 am when my four year old daughter insisted on French toast for breakfast. So I got right up. I felt completely fine with all historic and scientific surveys of myself saying that I should have been hiding under the covers in revolt. Sure, I was tired but I had been up drinking until 2 am. Aduh.

Tempo Tonight definitely told a hangover to eff off for the day. I should be hissing at sunlight like a vampire as I write this. And that's great because we're all human and we all can go overboard at any point. I know. I know so bad.

But as a responsible adult I do feel the need to let you know it's not going to halt damage to your liver or kidneys, so it's not a way to avoid long term consequences if you drink excessively all the time. It also won't prevent alcohol poisoning. Use it, don't abuse it.

Buy Tempto Tonight:

The TempoTonight sample was provided free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your product reviewed follow this link. The wine and brandy used were purchased by myself for the purpose of this review.
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