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

12/28/10

Solemates – Ultimate Yacht Rental



In the mood to rent a yacht..? I have what may arguably be the most exclusive yacht charter...

Solemates

Newly launched from the prominent Lürssen Yacht yard in Bremen, Germany, this 200 foot superyacht is truly on the cutting edge of luxury and refinement. Penned by Espen Oeino with interior design from Glade Johnson, the rich and elegant interior has accommodations for 12 guests.

Spaces for elegant and casual dining and entertaining abound, and don’t miss the sundeck with alfresco dining and lounging areas wrapped around a Jacuzzi. In the evening this area can be converted to a nightclub atmosphere complete with lighting and sound systems.

As if this weren’t enough…

…each guest receives an iPad when boarding. You can control the lighting, blinds and entertainment systems in your cabin and throughout the vessel from the iPad. You can even use it to order a cocktail from the crew of 15..!

The Soulmate summers in the Mediterranean and winters in the Carribbean via the Luxury Yacht Group. A week aboard can be yours for the tidy sum of $600,000.

12/27/10

2012 Mercedes C-class Facelift


Due in U.S. showrooms this summer, the volume selling Mercedes-Benz C-class is getting its mid-cycle refresh.

The highlight of the update lies under the hood, with a new engine lineup. The entry-level model will become the C250, equipped with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine good for 201 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes claims a combined 24 mpg city/highway for this configuration. The top shelf C350 V6 has been upgraded from 268 hp to 302, along with a 5 percent gain in fuel efficiency. Greener and meaner..!

New tech tidbits include several driver assistance systems. These include Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Highbeam Assist, Attention Assist and Park Assist. Sounds as if you really don’t have to do much to drive the darn thing anymore…

Visuals..?

The exterior mods are highlighted by a change to the headlamp design as well as grill and bumper restyles, not to mention a proliferation of LED lighting. In all honesty I prefer the previous look, feeling the new version to have less of a sporting feel. Please note this is a minor quibble. The interior alterations do come off well though, with updates to the dashboard and control surfaces.

It is nice to see Mercedes bringing the horsepower more in line with rivals from BMW, Audi and Cadillac. This should make for some interesting comparisons. While not a blockbuster revise, all-in-all a job well done…

12/23/10

CastaDiva Resort – New Lake Como Luxury


5-Star luxury on Lake Como.

‘nuff said, but I will give you some details anyway…

Located on the east side of Lake Como’s western branch, CastaDiva Resort opened early 2010. Comprised of nine villas, there are 75 guest rooms in total ranging from the 1,200 square foot suites to the 4,100 square foot Villa Norma. All residences are finished with high quality furnishings reflecting Old Italian style infused with a modern touch.

Amenities abound at CastaDiva, including a luxurious 13,000 square foot Spa facility featuring an indoor pool, Jacuzzi, Finnish and Mediterranean saunas, four couple’s suites and much more. Two restaurants and a bar, a floating pool, tennis courts, pillow menus, secretarial services and seven nearby golf courses round out the list.

The bottom line here is 5-star luxury, 5-star service and of course that 5-star Lake Como view. Not a bad way to spend a little getaway time..!

12/16/10

Vegas Goes Cosmopolitan


The latest in a string of plush new Vegas resorts is now open…

With its twin 50-story towers, The Cosmopolitan sits on just under 9 acres nestled between the recently opened CityCenter and the Bellagio. At a cost of $3.9 billion, the resort boasts 2,995 rooms, a 100,000 square foot casino and 36,000 square feet of luxury retailers. The requisite pampering Spa, three pools (one of which overlooks the strip), a fitness facility and 150,000 square feet of conference space are available as well.

The rooms are well done and comfortable in a contemporary urban-hip style, as the hotel seems to be targeting the younger set. Plasma televisions, Japanese soaking tubs, rain showers and custom in-room bars/kitchenettes are part of the package. Many of the rooms even have large terraces with views of the strip.

As per the new Vegas norm, the foodie contingent will be coddled at The Cosmopolitan. Chef José Andrés has his tapas bar Jaelo, as well as China Poblano – his fusion of Chinese and Mexican cuisines. Popular celeb hangout STK steakhouse from L.A., New York and Miami is here as well. Your drink is covered by five different bars and lounges, all topped off by the 62,000 square foot Marquee Nightclub which has a Grand Opening on New Year’s Eve with a show featuring Coldplay and Jay-Z.

One of my favorite features at the Cosmopolitan are the Casino Cabanas. Spread around the casino floor, these cabanas are a roped-off semi-private area complete with couches, televisions, bottle service and of course your own slot machines and gaming tables. Nice..!

With the swanky hipster feel, excellent service and generous room sizes, I’m sure you will enjoy your stay at The Cosmopolitan. Book a room and see what happens in Vegas..!

12/13/10

Godiva Chocolate-infused Vodka


Those of you that have a sweet tooth and the love of a good martini, turn away..! (This may be addicting!)

Unfortunately I fall in that group. Courtesy of the folks at Godiva Chocolatier I now have a new concern…in a good way, of course.

Godiva Chocolate-infused Vodka

There are certainly other brands of chocolate-infused vodka on the market, but the Belgian Chocolatier has been in the chocolate business since 1926, making them especially qualified to pull off such a feat. Distilled five times, this is a high quality spirit and sure to make the taste buds smile.

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Start with a simple Godiva on the rocks with an orange twist, or maybe splash some in your holiday eggnog. Then of course you can do a nice chocolate martini or how about an espresso martini. I like the latter with 2 parts Godiva vodka, 1 part Baileys, splash of heavy cream and a pinch of espresso powder. Shake well and strain into a vodka glass and top with a shake of cocoa.

If this all wasn’t enough, Godiva even has Chocolate Raspberry Vodka..!

Happy Holidays indeed..!

12/11/10

1-Series M Coupe – BMW’s Latest Dynamo


BMW’s Motorsport Division brings us their newest creation. A high-zoot version of the 135 that has been thoroughly reworked by those evil speed-demon engineers from BMW M! And what a ride it looks to be…

The twin-turbo inline 6 cylinder engine has been massaged to 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. With a 7000 rpm redline, the motor scoots the car to 60 mph in a reported 4.7 seconds with a limited top speed of 155 mph. Power flows through a 6-speed manual transmission to the rear wheels.

Crossed drilled cast iron binders – 14.2 inches front and 13.8 rear – will halt the car with near violent efficiency. The wheels covering those brakes, also seen on the M3 with the Competition Package, are 19 x 9” in front and 19 x 10 at the rear. With wide fenders and M aero bits, the visual impact is one of menace – fitting for this car. There is no mistaking its sporting purpose.

The black interior is highlighted with alcantara throughout and contrasting Valencia Orange stitching and the M seating is both comfortable and supportive – the perfect environment to conduct serious driving.

Overall I love this car as it has been executed very well. The two gripes I have would be the lack of a dual-clutch transmission option and the missing hood power-bulge that other BMW M cars have. Regardless, this sporting 1-er will no doubt be a rousing success!

12/10/10

Post Ranch Inn – A Big Sur Beauty


Looking for that intimate, luxurious getaway to the beautiful California coast? I have just the place…

First opened in 1992 and with a recent expansion, this resort remains one of my favorite hideaways…perfect for that long weekend to relax and recharge.

Built on ranch property owned by several generations of the Post family, this luxurious resort features stunning organic architecture. The natural beauty of the land is represented in the design and materials of the resort itself. Accommodations consist of 39 guest rooms, each with a unique layout highlighting ocean or mountain views. Two private houses are available as well should you require larger quarters.

Amenities at the resort include a world class Spa with the usual menu of services, available either in room or at the Spa facilities. One unexpected service for the adventurous: a session with a Shaman to “help create physical, mental and emotional well-being.” Foodies are covered at the Inn as well. Helmed by Executive Chef Craig von Foerster, the gourmet Sierra Mar restaurant has won accolades from around the world for its epicurean delights.

Swimming facilities include three pools. Two are described as basking pools – essentially large hot-tubs - and the third is the more standard size “swimming” variety. Other activities at the resort include morning yoga sessions, meditation, guided hikes, stargazing with the supplied telescope and occasional cooking classes hosted by Chef Foerster.

A classic getaway, the Post Ranch Inn truly is a Big Sur Beauty! Relaxation guaranteed…

2012 Audi A6 Unwrapped


Audi’s next generation A6 has been officially unwrapped by the folks from Ingolstadt, Germany.

At first glance I see a fairly conservative makeover, drawing design cues from the recently redone big-brother A8 flagship. The front and rear fascias share a definite familial resemblance. Full LED headlamps, similar to those on the A8 will be an option, as well as a 20-inch wheel package.

Engine choices for the U.S. have yet to be announced, but I expect the main powerplant to be a supercharged 3.0-liter TFSI V6, with 295 hp and 325 lb-ft. A regular aspirated V6 rated at 201 hp may be available as well. Europe will have the option of three turbodiesels and an upcoming Hybrid powertrain. Will the Hybrid make it to the States? The folks at Audi are mum on this at the moment.

The interior is up to Audi’s usual high standards of design and technology with a choice of various wood veneer or metallic trims, ambient lighting, massaging seats and a top shelf audio system from Bang & Olufsen.

The target competition for the A6 will be the Mercedes E-class, BMW’s recently redone 5-series and Infinity’s M. How will it stack up to these rivals? Check back in a few months to find out…the A6 is due in U.S. showrooms mid-summer of 2011. If you appreciate understated yet sporty elegance, this may be the car for you…

12/9/10

12C Cabernet – Rutherford Dust Done Right


“Rutherford dust” – an often referred to terroir-driven characteristic of Cabernet Sauvignons produced in the Rutherford appellation of Napa Valley. This flavor profile is commonly described as an allspice-dusty-berry combination.

Now that you have that…

One of the boutique wine producers in this area is 12C, a small firm owned by John and Joyce Raudabaugh and named after the ideal wine storage temperature in degrees Celsius. Producing wines for a very short time, they have quickly garnered attention from in-the-know vinophiles by securing grapes from the famed Beckstoffer Vineyard Georges III and employing the services of artisan Cabernet maker Mike Smith who has worked with Schrader and Maybach among others.

12C’s sophomore vintage, the 2008, displays what winemaker Smith refers to as “soaring aromas of dark red fruits, minerality and subtle barrel spice”. With a rich and velvety mouthfeel, Smith says the wine finishes with “red fruits, sandalwood spice and Belgium chocolate notes”.

With only 125 cases of the 2008 produced and the 2007 vintage long gone, you’d better buy what you can find. An excellent example of Rutherford Cabernet and highly recommended!