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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

2/28/11

Records Set at 15th Annual Napa Valley Vintners Auction!


Judging from results at the annual futures auction held this weekend in Napa Valley, the wine industry slump may be nearing an end..!

The Napa Valley Vintners yearly auction of individually crafted one-of-a-kind lots from 200 wineries known as Premiere Napa Valley finished at nearly 2.4 million in sales, besting 2008’s 2.2 million. Industry experts proclaim this a sign of growing optimism and confidence in Napa wines and the economy in general.

The first lot of the day from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars went for $26,000 with other top performers coming from wineries such as Schrader Cellars, Ovid, Levy and McClellan and Shafer Vineyards.

The star of the day, and record setting lot was the 5-case offering from Scarecrow Wine, crafted by winemaker Celia Welch from vines planted in 1945. A Japanese wine company paid $125,000 for the offering… a cool $2083 per bottle…

That is some quality grape juice..!

2/24/11

Aston Martin’s New Virage


Famed English marque Aston Martin is resurrecting the Virage moniker first used in the mid-80’s.

Slotted between the hard-edged DBS and the luxury-minded DB9, the Virage will split the difference in price and performance.

Propelled by a 490 bhp V-12 powerplant, the Virage will hit 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds and have a top speed of 186 mph. A six-speed Touchtronic II paddle-shifted automatic transmission sends the power to the wheels. Standard carbon ceramic brakes will stop any forward momentum in a hurry. Aston’s newly designed Adaptive Damping System is in place for computerized control of the suspension system, promising an excellent mix of ride and handling.

Yards of Bridge of Weir hand-stitched leather adorn the interior along with the usual accoutrements of a high-end audio system, Garmin-based sat-nav , cruise control and heated sport seats. It promises to be a great place to do one’s driving business…

Set for public debut at the Geneva Motor Show on March 1st, the Vantage can be ordered currently with full production beginning shortly. A convertible Volante version will also be available for those that prefer open air motoring.

Grey Goose and Oscar


Well, Oscar weekend is fast approaching and the film industry is all abuzz with predictions and critiques. As tends to happen, when Hollywood gathers together this time of year, celebrations abound.

The folks at Grey Goose are gaining a certain amount of notoriety for soirees they host for the event. To top it all off, they have provided a collection of cocktail recipes themed to several of the Best Film nominees so that we can all party along at home. Pick your favorite movie and give it a taste..!

And the winner is…

Grey Goose Royal Passion – The King’s Speech

2 parts Grey Goose Vodka
1/3 part vanilla flavored (Monin) syrup
1 fresh passion fruit
3 small fresh pineapple chunks
Fresh lemon squeeze

In a cocktail shaker, muddle fruit.Add all other ingredients, shake vigorously and double strain into a chilled martini glass.Garnish with a half a passion fruit floating on top.

Grey Goose L’Orange Prize Fighter – The Fighter (pictured)

1 ½ parts Grey Goose L’Orange Flavored Vodka
1 part fresh blood orange juice
½ part fresh lemon juice
½ part simple syrup
1 thin slide of japaleno

Place jalapeno and simple syrup in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and muddle well.Add ice and remaining ingredients, and shake vigorously.Strain into a chilled martini glass with a sugared rim and present with a slice of jalapeno.

Grey Goose L’Orange Pirouette – Black Swan

1 ¼ parts Grey Goose L’Orange Flavored Vodka
1 part fresh lemon juice
¾ part crème de violette
¾ part simple syrup
1 dash peach bitters

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and shake vigorously.Strain into a chilled martini class and present with an edible orchid

Grey Goose Le Citron Status Update – The Social Network

½ part Grey Goose Le Citron Flavored Vodka
½ part St. Germain
1 part grape juice
½ part pear puree

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and shake vigorously.Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an edible flower.

Grey Goose La Poire Elderflower Dream – Inception

1 ½ parts Grey Goose La Poire Flavored Vodka
1 ½ parts fresh ruby red grapefruit juice
½ part premium elderflower liqueur
½ part lemon juice
½ part simple syrup

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and shake vigorously.Strain into a chilled martini glass, and present with a grapefruit twist.

2/15/11

Dan D’Agostino’s New Amplifier


Who the heck is this D’Agostino fellow?


Even those of you who are not a card-carrying member of the audiophile legions have probably heard that name. Founded in 1980, Krell is a manufacturer of high-end audio gear. Dan D’Agostino was the CEO and primary product designer until a rather acrimonious split in the fall of 2009 with the company financial folks. The D’Agostino family is no longer a part of Krell.

What to do, what to do..?

For Dan the answer was simple… start a new company and go back to doing what he does best – design and build audio gear…

Thus, Dan D’Agostino Inc. was born. The first product, a monoblock amplifier (one per stereo channel) named The Momentum, was unveiled at this year’s CES show in Las Vegas. Specifications show a power rating of 300 watts into an 8 ohm load and 600 watts into 4 ohms with a distortion level less than .01 dB at 1 kHz. With top shelf parts and engineering and a case machined from solid aluminum billet and copper heat sinks, The Momentum is a one great looking piece of audio gear…

…and man do these amps sound good..! Priced at $42,000 for the pair, these are for the upper end of the audio market – highly recommended!

2/14/11

Mercedes C-Class Coupe Arrives!


Those German automakers love to go at each other..!

Mercedes-Benz has unwrapped its new C-Class Coupe, a direct shot at longtime rival BMW and their 3 series coupe. While I’m at it, don’t forget Audi’s A5, Cadillac’s new CTS coupe or Infinity’s two-door G37.

Initial specifications released by Mercedes show a pair of engine choices available to the North American market. The entry level C250 Coupe will be powered by MB’s new 1.8 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine. Horsepower should come in at 201 along with 229 lb-ft of torque, good to get the car to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds according to Mercedes. A step up in the model line will secure the C350 Coupe and their current 3.5 liter V6 with 302 bhp and 273 lb-ft. I don’t believe a manual transmission option will be available as both cars are slated for a 7-speed automatic as standard equipment. A hot-rod AMG version should make an appearance as well, but Mercedes is being tight-lipped as to any details on this ultra-performance version.

A quick review of officially released photos indicates a nearly identical front portion to the just updated C-Class sedan. From the A-pillar back, one notes the changes with the longer door and differing roofline.

I do have one major gripe… Take a look at a Honda Accord coupe and notice the upward kink in the window between the B and C pillars. The Mercedes Coupe looks almost identical and frankly it doesn’t sit well to my eye, although an in-person viewing may sway my negative opinion. My guess is the designers were trying to differentiate from the larger E-Class coupe.

Hmmm…

The C-Class Coupe is due in showrooms in September. Model pricing and further specifications should arrive shortly as Mercedes finalizes their entry into the coupe wars..!