Audio/Video

Audiophile Sound Systems, Home Theater, Computer Audio - Purchasing and Upgrades.

Automotive

Purchasing, Storage, Detailing, Aftermarket.

Wine and Spirits

Wine Tastings and Tours, Cellaring, Collecting, Purchases.

Travel and Leisure

Resorts, Hotels, Restaurants, Destinations.

Kitchen, Cooking and Food

Design, Appliances, Knives, Entertaining.

Welcome to Connoisseur Corner - Luxe Consulting and Executive Services

Marty Feldmann, The Connoisseur, is the highly sought after consultant who assists businesses and individual clients with the acquisition of the finer things life has to offer. Whether you are planning a weekend getaway to wine country, selecting audio equipment to outfit your home, planning your dream vacation or purchasing your ultimate transportation, Marty is your personal connection to the good life…

Marty can be contacted at: 916.952.9529 Marty@ConnoisseurCorner.com

6/30/09

370Z Meets NISMO


Nissan’s new 370Z, an update to the successful 350Z, has not been on the market very long, but we are duly impressed by the performance per dollar ratio. It is an excellent driving car that has been improved over the previous model in all manners of performance as well as build quality and aesthetics.

Now they’ve decided to kick it up a notch…

NISMO, Nissan’s motorsports division formed in 1984, has had its way with the new Z-car and is releasing a limited edition through dealers that is now available.

The NISMO treatment nets you more power of course. The engine has been tuned for 18 more horsepower for a total of 350, along with 276 lb-ft of torque. Suspension changes over the standard model include a new strut tower brace and performance dampers along with upgraded brakes and a dual exhaust system. Unique 19-inch RAYS forged aluminum alloy wheels are also standard.

The exterior has been updated as well, with front and rear fascia treatments along with side sills for better airflow and more downforce. It all adds up to a more aggressive but well integrated overall appearance. One look and you know the car means business.

A job well done by Nissan and its NISMO division. Take it for a spin and you may well be hooked..!

6/26/09

Is this Stoli Vodka Truly Elit..?


(What happened to my spell checker?)

Stolichnaya vodka has been around for a year or thirty. Actually the origins can be traced back to 1901 give or take, but the details are a bit foggy. The crucial date was 1972, when Pepsi Co. struck a deal to import and market the brand. Today “Stoli” is a well recognized and respected brand.

Now let’s talk ultra-premium… a category we are seeing more of in several spirits, including vodka. Stolichnaya decided to join the fray a while back and began importing Stoli Elit. (There’s that spelling again…)

To create this new high-end premium spirit, one might think that Stolichnaya would utilize some new-fangled ultra-secretive process. Instead, they took inspiration from the past…

Quick story time – a vodka story, that is… Way back when, the Russians would store their vodka in wooden barrels and put them outdoors…. It gets very cold in Russia! Essentially the outer portion of the liquid in the barrel would end up freezing, which included the impurities in the vodka. This left only the purest vodka, or “alpha” as it’s called, in the center of the barrel. Stolichnaya has adopted a modern version of this process in the distillation of Elit. The result..? Smoooooth…

Give it a try. We think you will be pleased…

6/25/09

Wonderful Walla Walla Wineries

Situated in the southeastern portion of the state of Washington and home to some excellent sweet onions along with over 30,000 residents, Walla Walla also has something else that it can claim…

Wine..!

The last decade has seen an explosion of the wine industry in the Walla Walla area. There are now several top-shelf producers in the region and we’d like to tell you about a few of our favorites.

L’Ecole № 41 – Located in a historic schoolhouse, this winery has been producing wines since 1983 and was awarded Regional Winery of the Year by Wine and Spirits magazine. L’Ecole currently produces about 35,000 cases per annum, of which ¾ of the grapes are estate grown. We especially like their Syrah and Semillon, as well as a pair of Bordeaux style blends named Apogee and Perigee.

Cayuse – A smaller and more boutique style winery, Cayuse was founded in the mid 90’s by a Frenchman named Christophe Baron, whose family made champagne in France. The winery’s calling card is their acclaimed single-vineyard Syrah, of which there are four bottlings. They can be difficult to come by, but well worth the effort.

Leonetti – Gary Figgins founded Leonetti Cellar in 1977 and produced his first wines the following year as a serious hobbyist. Continued success turned this hobbyist into a full-time winemaker as the business grew, and Gary has now been joined by his son Chris as the lead winemaker. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese and a Bordeaux-style blend make up the roster of finely crafted wines.

All we can say is head north and have a taste. You will not be disappointed…

6/23/09

Harmonia Mundi Means Classical


Well, not literally. The Latin term translates to something akin to “world harmony”, but that’s not what we are here for.

Today we are talking about the little record company that could…

In case you haven’t noticed, not all is well in the record industry. They of course, would like to thank the computer industry and the advent of .mp3 music files for their woes. Even classical music sales were down some 30% this past year. Harmonia Mundi was able to buck that trend with 9% growth over the same period.

And now it’s obvious question time: How are they able to do it..?

The answer, when boiled down to its core, is really very simple…passion. Company owners Bernard Coutaz and wife Eva appear to have a passion for classical music, as opposed to the record industry. This shows in their commitment to the musicians and the quality of the recordings and performances. There is also an affinity for period instruments and settings as well as recording music that hasn’t been done over and over. This philosophy has kept their catalog fresh and their customers returning.

Whether you are a long time classical music lover or a newbie wanting to explore this musical genre, pick up a few titles from Harmonia Mundi and we are sure you won’t be disappointed.

High quality and highly recommended..!

6/21/09

Jack Johnson – The Mellow Vibe


Pretty much everybody loves the Hawaiian Islands. The beaches and ocean, beautiful scenery and laid-back people are all part of the appeal. You might refer to it as a mellow vibe.

Of course when you think of Hawaiian music, the hula or ukuleles come to mind.

And then there’s Jack Johnson

Born and raised on Oahu in1975, the son of famous surfer Jeff Johnson, Jack wouldn’t develop his passion for music until his college years. His debut album, Brushfire Fairytales was released in early 2002 and the music projects have been non-stop ever since.

Upon first listen, Hawaii is not the first thought that pops into your head. The music is in the soft rock genre with influences including Bob Dylan, Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley and the like. The music is recorded sparsely, but with excellent sound quality – something that should appeal to most audiophiles. And the more you listen…

…the mellow vibe, that underlying Hawaiian influence, begins to make sense.

The Connoisseur recommends starting with that debut CD, Brushfire Fairytales or maybe his 2005 recording In Between Dreams. We think you will like what you hear…

6/18/09

Coastal Jet Service – A New Way to Fly


Coastal Jet Service, a startup private jet service headquartered in White Plains, NY, aims to take the hassle out of flying by executive jet. The angle here is that no fractional ownership, contracts or minimums are required.

Do you need to go from New York to Los Angeles? Simply book a reservation and go!

Currently offering daily flights between White Plains, New York and Burbank, California, Coastal Jet Service will be expanding shortly to include routes to Dallas, Miami, Las Vegas and London.

The benefits of Coastal Jet Service are many. First and foremost, you can take an hour or more off your flight time as compared to a standard airline flight. You can thank the Citation X jets used by Coastal – these babies are fast. You also eliminate airport time – show up 10 minutes before the flight and you are good to go.

Luxury is a large part of the equation as well with full-leather reclining club seats and individual multimedia stations including TV and DVD. Top it off with a gourmet food menu and cocktails and it adds up to one fine travel experience. Even the luggage compartments are heated!

The current one-way rate is $4,600, with a percentage going to St. Jude’s charity.

Happy flying..!

6/15/09

LaCinema Classic Bridge Media Player

There is no question that digital media is taking over the planet..!

Well, maybe not in a “rule the world” sense, but there is no question digital media and the associated hardware has a prominent role in today’s lifestyle. Smartphones, USB thumb-drives, digital cameras, mp3 players…the list goes on.

Now that you have all this hardware and the associated media files, how do you integrate them into your life? Do you want to be limited to viewing your digital photos on your computer? Or only listening to your mp3 files over crappy headphones or computer speakers?

This is where LaCie and their LaCinema Classic Bridge come in to play. Connect the device to your HD television or home theater via the HDMI cable. Next, connect your portable memory to the Bridge and use the remote to navigate through your pictures, videos or music files. You can even install a hard drive into the bridge for permanent media storage, supplementing any external devices.

With a wide variety of media format support and features such as upscaling capabilities, this is truly a premium device at a minimum price. $99.99, to be exact. The thing even looks cool..!

The LaCinema Classic Bridge is available online directly from LaCie or at various retailers.

Friday is Free at Radisson

You read that correctly! The Radisson Hotels and Resorts chain is currently giving away Friday night stays for free..!

So…what’s the catch?

There really isn’t much of one. Here’s the deal…you have to stay two consecutive nights. It can be a Thursday-Friday or a Friday-Saturday (or add on more days). The arrival date can be any time before September 16th of this year and must be booked at least seven days in advance.

Participating Radisson properties are located in the North, Central and South Americas, the Asia Pacific and also in the UK.

It's finally a Friday..!

6/14/09

Personalized Corzo Tequila


Following the trend of customizable products, Corzo Tequila is making available a customizable label for your bottle. This could be the ultimate gift for the tequila lover!

Corzo tequilas are fairly new on the radar. This luxury spirit is double aged and triple distilled, and is available in the silver, reposado and anejo varieties. We find it to be of excellent quality and certainly worth a try.

One thing that sets Corzo apart from the crowd is their bottle. The rectangular shaped container has actually won several awards and certainly has a designer flair to it. Now you can take it one step further with that special label…

Made of metal, the labels will accommodate up to three lines of your own text. Simply go to their website and complete your order. The label will be shipped to you in 4-6 business days.

Did I mention this was free..?

Yes folks, there is no charge involved. How often do you run into an offer like that? This is apparently a limited time offer, so get your order in now…and don’t forget to enjoy that tequila!

6/13/09

DropStop for Wine





Today let’s travel to the land of cool things for wine…


Sure, wine itself is “cool”. However, it can occasionally be a bit of a mess. You know the dinner party where you have to carry a towel to keep those wine drops at bay while you pour? We have a solution…



Invented by a Danish fellow after, you guessed it…spilling red wine on a white tablecloth, the DropStop is pure genius. It is simple to use, sturdy, and works flawlessly. The Connoisseur has been steadfastly drinking several bottles of wine for testing purposes, and not a drop in sight! You simply roll up the disc and then insert halfway into the bottleneck.


Say goodbye to wasted wine.


If you are a wine drinker, this is an absolute must have in our book. Highly recommended..!

Sansa – the iPod Alternative

Has it struck you yet that navigating iTunes is not really the most user friendly activity in the world? Microsoft’s solution isn’t any better in our book. At the C-Corner we have been longing for a player with simple drag and drop functionality.

We’ve found it..!

The company is Sansa, long in the memory business; they have also been making players for a while now. The key with these players…when you attach them to your computer via a USB connector, they merely show up as another drive on your system with full drag-and-drop functionality. Have some mp3 files you want to listen to? Simply drag them over to the Sansa player “drive” and you are good to go.

Bottom line, we love the simplicity and the time savings.

Of course Sansa has a few models to meet your needs. The Clip is their diminutive player with a mini-screen and, as the name implies, a clip to attach to a belt or clothing. Memory ranges from 1 up to 8 GB. The Fuze is the next step up in size and has a full color screen along with up to 8 GB of storage space. Sansa’s top dog is the View, with the large color screen and up to 32 GB of capacity.

If you are in the market for that portable player, give these a try. We think you will end up with fewer headaches in the long run!

6/9/09

The Days of Pinot


Are you in the mood for a little getaway to San Francisco?

Or maybe you’re craving some fine Pinot Noir.

If both of those sound appealing, we have the event for you…
From June 24th through the 28th several events will take place in San Francisco to celebrate the noble grape, culminating with the Grand Festival Tasting on the 28th at the Fort Mason Center. Nearly 200 producers from California, Oregon, New Zealand and Burgundy will be on hand with their wines at this finale from 1:00 to 5:00 pm.

Other events during the week include a Winemakers Table Hop Dinner, Newcomers Tasting, Legends Tasting and much more.

Tickets are available online at the above link, so hurry and get your activities booked and your hotel reserved. As their tagline proclaims…”Serious Wine, Serious Fun!” We are inclined to agree.