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

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Purchasing, Storage, Detailing, Aftermarket.

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Resorts, Hotels, Restaurants, Destinations.

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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

12/17/15

Gooding & Co to Auction Ferrari Collection


Renowned auction house Gooding & Company has announced a car lover’s dream auction set for the 2016 Scottsdale Auctions on January 29th and 30th. 

Picture eight prancing horses on the auction block…

Can you say “Ferrari heaven”?
Acclaimed Ferrari collector Tony Shooshani is cutting ties with these automotive works of art.  Mind you, he has plenty more.  Don’t feel bad for the fellow.  The good news is you should be able to secure the entire lot for an estimated $13.5 million.

In the words of David Gooding, “We are honored to have a part of one of the most esteemed Ferrari collections in North America from such an astute and refined collector.”
As for the eight four-wheeled thoroughbreds, you’ll find several of the “classic” Ferraris, as well as a trio in the supercar category (F40, F50, Enzo).  In order of estimated value, from lowest to highest, they are as follows:

  • 1988 Ferrari 328 GTS                      $150,000
  • 1984 Ferrari 512 BBi                       $475,000
  • 1969 Ferrari Dino 206 GT               $800,000
  • 1990 Ferrari F40                               $1,600,000
  • 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Series II          $2,300,000
  • 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso              $2,500,000
  • 2003 Ferrari Enzo                             $2,800,000
  • 1995 Ferrari F50                               $2,900,000

Simply pick your favorite and make an offer.  Or better yet, purchase the whole lot.  You’d better have a serious garage...!
Classic Italian automotive art awaits…


12/15/15

Bitters + Bottles Spirits Subscription – The Perfect Gift...?




Need a gift for that special someone...? 

Does that special someone happen to enjoy a good cocktail…?
Allow me to resolve your quandary…

Now you can gift a monthly subscription of booze...!

How does this work?  Well, suffice it to say, you might want to be over 21.  That would be the main prerequisite.  If you have that minor issue (pun intended) covered, each month you will receive a delivery of 4-6 bottled ingredients, including a target spirit.  This monthly treasure trove comes with 5 or more cocktail recipes using the ingredients in the box.  After a year of subscriptions, your bar will be well-stocked and you will be quite the hobbyist mixologist…!  You can impress your friends and family, and occasionally just drink yourself into a refined stupor.  Hey, we all need to relieve the stress of life every now and then…
Pricing is $85.00/month plus shipping, and this is a 1-year program.  You can cancel or pause the program at any point during the year.  A bar tool starter kit is also available for $55.00.

With top-shelf ingredients, excellent customer service and a fully stocked online store to supplement your subscription, this is a can’t-miss gift.  Keep in mind there are certain states with shipping restrictions – you know who you are! 
Cheers and Happy Holidays…!



12/13/15

Paradise Press – Grapefruit Cocktail Perfection




Light…
Refreshing…

If this is your cocktail craving, I have the drink for you.  Provided, of course, that you aren’t allergic to grapefruit.
The Paradise Press

Here is my take on a recipe kindly provided by the bar staff at Land Ocean in Roseville, California.  An excellent summer cocktail, you can certainly enjoy this year-round at your discretion.  The above mentioned “light, refreshing” quality makes it an excellent drink for nearly any occasion.
So, other than grapefruit, what the heck is in this concoction…?

I do have a diminutive shopping list for you, but once you acquire everything, the drink is simple to construct and easy to quaff.  Here we go…
Paradise Press

·         1 ½ oz. Vodka (good quality, please)
·         2 dashes Grapefruit bitters
·         Squeeze of fresh grapefruit juice
·         Splash of soda (Sprite or 7-up)
·         SanPellegrino Pompelmo

Cut the grapefruit in eighths.  In a rocks glass over ice, combine juice from 1/8 grapefruit along with vodka, bitters and soda splash.  Top with SanPellegrino and stir.
Cheers…!


12/8/15

Open Table Speaks: 10 Best Restaurants in America


The online restaurant booking service Open Table, founded in 1998 in the Bay Area, provides reservations for nearly 31,000 restaurants across the United States.  Monthly dinner seatings are estimated to be in the 15 million range. 

Really…?
That is one helluva lot of hungry people, customers served, and opinions formed. 

As opinions are formed, reviews are written.  The folks at Open Table have analyzed over 5,000,000 of these reviews, tallied the results, enlisted a secret accounting firm (just kidding) and released their Top 100 list.  I am promptly removing 11 through 100, and tonight we will name the top ten.  Get your appetite on and take a look…
First up is diminutive (eleven tables) and rustic Italian eatery Vetri, located in Philadelphia.  Diners enjoy a multi-course tasting menu, specializing in authentic Northern Italian cuisine.  Mangia..!

Next, let us find our way to New York City and chef Daniel Boulud’s eponymous Daniel.  This sophisticated and architecturally striking restaurant serves up a seasonal take on contemporary French cuisine.  One of the best there is…!
Third up is n/naka.  Artfully prepared dishes in the Japanese kaiseki style of dining.  Chef Niki Nakayama prepares the freshest ingredients with a combination of traditional and modern techniques to bring together this top shelf dining experience. 

A veteran of the San Francisco restaurant scene, Acquerello has been serving Italian fine-dining for over 26 years.  Earning countless awards over the years Acquerello garnered their second Michelin star this year..! 
Back to the East Coast we go to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, located in Pocantico Hills, NY.  Guests are offered a “multi-taste Grazing, Rooting Pecking menu featuring the best offerings from the field and market”.  Intrigued...?

We’ll stay in New York and have some sushi at Sushi Nakazawa.  Sushi fanatics have raved about Chef Daisuke Nakazawa and his 20-course meals for years.  A bucket list dinner for the Sushi lover.
A detour down south will land us at Halls Chophouse in Charleston, SC.  Amazing steaks, along with some fresh seafood and Lowcountry specialties round out a satiating menu at this vibrant restaurant. 

Heading west to Chandler, AZ, and you will find the Kai Restaurant at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort.  Chef Conor Favre (he’s not the quarterback) features a menu steeped in the history and creativity of Native American culture.
Let’s take a vacation in Hawaii and go to Mama’s Fish House in Paia, HI.  A converted beach house in a coconut grove on a secluded white sand beach…  enough said…  People love this place…!

My last stop is in Santa Rosa, CA at the St. Francis Winery and Vineyards.  Here you experience a multicourse wine and food pairing from chef Bryan Jones sure to send your taste buds to Nirvana. 
Cheers…!



11/24/15

Holiday Cocktail – Salted Caramel Martini


The holidays are upon us, like it or not…

Of course most folks enjoy the holidays, just not the anxiety that can be involved.  Well, what better way to relieve the dreaded holiday stress than with a holiday cocktail…

The Salted Caramel Martini
Great for holiday parties, or just relaxing with a loved one by the fireplace, this is one of my favorites for the chilly winter months.  Brought to us by the crazy cocktail chemists at RumChata, this is a simple recipe that will turn that frown upside down!

·         Sea Salt
·         Caramel sauce
·         2 parts RumChata
·         1 part caramel vodka

Using water, rim a chilled martini glass with the sea salt.  Next, drizzle a teaspoon of caramel sauce into the bottom of the glass. 
In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine RumChata and vodka and shake.  Pour into glass.

Drink…
Relax…

Give it a try and let me know what you think.  Happy Holidays...!
Cheers!!!


11/17/15

Cobalt Co50 Valkyrie – Sweet Private Flight...!



This plane is cool…!  It might be argued that Bruce Wayne would fly one of these.  Even the name gets points.

Here comes the Co50 Valkyrie!

Cobalt founder and CEO David Loury set out to build “an innovative private aircraft, that is not only technologically sound and safe, but also design-centric and luxurious”.  I would say he has succeeded.
Both the exterior and interior are completely customizable with different colors and finishes, even the seats are hand-stitched leather.  Seating is for the pilot and four guests, and there is plenty of room for the requisite golf clubs or skis, and luggage of course.  The one-piece canopy, claimed to be the largest in the world, provides unsurpassed visibility with a sweeping 320-degree view. 

Powered by a turbocharged 350 hp rear-mounted engine, the Valkyrie will max at 260 knots (299 mph) and has a cruising range of 1050 nautical miles.  It will get you where you need to go faster than any supercar, provided your pilot doesn’t get lost. 
This thing even has a parachute..!
First deliveries are expected in the summer of 2017.  You can pre-order your Valkyrie now with a $15,000 deposit.  Price of ownership is $699,000. 

Up, up and away…!
 
 

11/16/15

Tag Heuer Connected – The Android Watch Answer…




Smartwatches have certainly had their share of press lately and they are likely to be one of the hottest Christmas gifts of the year.  Of course Apple has been leading the trend.  You may recall my recent blog on the Hermès Apple Watch.  But now…

Google fights back..!

In partnership with Intel and revered watch maker Tag Heuer, Google brings us the Tag Heuer Connected. 
Designed after Tag’s Carrera racing style watch, the Connected is everything you would expect from this company, and then some.  Material and production standards such as sapphire crystal, titanium casings and water resistance are present.  Now go Android techie and add in a 240ppi resolution screen, 4 GB of onboard storage, 1 GB of RAM and plenty of battery power.  Three Tag Heuer-styled digital watch faces are present, with more on the way. 

Apps..?
But of course..!  With Android and even iOS compatibility, you have your pick.  Directional wind and weather monitoring, Google Fit, Tag’s RaceChrono Pro capability.  There are literally thousands of apps to choose from. 

Available now online and in stores, the Tag Heuer Connected can be yours for $1,500.00. 
Do you have the time..?


11/14/15

Acoustic Zen Crescendo Mk. II Speakers Invade Sacramento



I love music...!  And as a music lover and audiophile, I was recently afforded the opportunity to attend a demo in central Cali of some special speakers, Acoustic Zen’s recently updated Crescendo Mk. II.

Based out of San Diego, Acoustic Zen is the brainchild of noted design engineer Robert Lee, who happened to be conducting the demo…!  An affable fellow, Robert’s energy and passion for music are reflected in his products.  His audio cables and speakers have been garnering rave reviews for years.  Three floorstanding speaker models are currently available from Acoustic Zen, and in the middle of that lineup, the “sweet spot”, is the Crescendo Mk. II.

A full range speaker (no subwoofer needed), the Crescendo Mk. II is a 3-way transmission line design, with a 2” horn loaded ribbon tweeter for the highs, a pair of 5” midrange drivers in a MTM configuration, and two 8” woofers for the low stuff.  The Mk. II update brings improvements to the drivers and their magnet assemblies, as well as a reinforced cabinet design, all resulting in lower resonance and distortion.  For a detailed rundown of Robert’s engineering on the Crescendo, see his technical notes here.  Truly fascinating stuff...!  The speakers themselves weigh in at 125 lbs/per, and stand 50” H x 11” W x 17” D, and are available in four stunningly finished wood veneers:  maple, walnut, ebony and rosewood.
“Hey Feldmann, how do they sound...?”

Powered by top-shelf electronics from Pass Labs (more on Pass Labs coming soon), Meitner and Oppo, the speakers sounded scary good!  Excellent dynamics and imaging caught my attention, along with coherence from high notes to low.  I was especially enamored with the tight, tuneful and properly proportioned bass notes, resultant of Robert’s successful transmission line engineering.  These speakers sounded good on all types of music, from small ensemble jazz to large scale orchestra, rock and roll, and everything in between. 
If you are looking at speakers under $30,000, the Crescendo Mk. II at $18,000 is a must audition.  You might not let them get away…!

I would also be remiss without sending a thank you to the good people at the Sierra Nevada Audiophile Society for providing a wonderful day of music.
Cheers…!


Wine Time – Robert Keenan Winery


Let’s venture to the Spring Mountain District, just west of St. Helena in the Napa Valley.  Here, on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains we find the home of Robert Keenan Winery. 

In 1974 Robert Keenan decided that Spring Mountain was the place to be, and promptly purchased 180 acres 1700 feet up the mountain.  Three years of hard labor produced the first grape harvest in 1977, and the Robert Keenan Winery was off and running.  In 1998 son Michael took over as owner and president of Keenan, after learning the winemaking craft from his father Robert and accomplished winemaker Joe Cafaro.  The years that followed saw vineyard replanting, sustainable farming, and even solar power.

Today we have a somewhat under-the-radar winery with consistently high-quality wines.  Of particular note are the estate wines:  a fine Chardonnay, the excellent Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, an exceptional Cab Franc and possibly my favorite, the Reserve Merlot from their Mailbox Vineyard. 
Hey, it really is OK to drink Merlot..!

Speaking of Merlot, these guys make a top shelf blend of 50% Merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc cleverly named Mernet.  A delicious wine, the Mernet is another one of my favorites and highly recommended.
If you make the trek up Spring Mountain Road you will experience a decidedly unpretentious tasting.  Manager Laura March and her staff are friendly and informative, the new tasting room is warm and cozy, and the wines are sure to please.  Visits are by appointment only, so be sure to plan ahead.  They are open 7 days a week.

Cheers..!
 
 

11/11/15

The Gin Diaries pt3: OOLA



For the third in my gin reports, let’s head to the northwest corner of the states to the OOLA distillery, home of today’s topic, OOLA gin. 

(See part 1 and part 2 here)

Artist turned distiller Kirby Kallas-Lewis Has been crafting this small batch gin from his OOLA vodka since 2011.  His artistic sensibilities seem to carry over nicely to the craft gin realm.  This is what I would call a new world style of gin, with some creative use of botanicals producing this spirit.
The nose hits with floral rose notes, along with citrus and somewhat subdued juniper berry and hints of sweetness/caramel.  Almost “pretty” in its essence. 

In tasting, the floral and citrus notes continue, but firmer hints of coriander and other spices follow up.  The finish brings a mention of vanilla and more hints of caramel.  All notes were wrapped up in a cohesive structure with an excellent mouthfeel. 

While not my favorite for gin and tonics, it was excellent in a martini and would work splendidly in all manner of craft-style cocktail recipes.  This is one finely crafted small batch gin.  Seek it out and you are sure to enjoy. 
OOLA-la indeed..!


11/7/15

Fall and Soup – Potato Cheddar Soup with Bacon



Here is an equation for all of the Math Wiz types out there…

Fall = Soup

When cold weather sets in and the chill hits the bones, I set about making soups, soups and more soups.  Comfort food.  They just work at this time of year. 
I have a go-to list of 2 or 30 soup recipes that I like to revisit from time to time.  One of those comes from the estimable Mr. Puck.  Open his Live, Love, Eat cookbook and turn to page 24 and you will find Hearty Potato-and-Cheddar Soup with Bacon. 

Sound good?
It sure does to me.  Head to the store, get your ingredients and fire up the stove.  Don’t forget a nice bottle of wine and some crusty bread.  Recipe as follows…

·         ¼ lb bacon, chopped
·         4 Tbsp unsalted butter
·         2 small leeks, chopped
·         1 large onion, chopped
·         1 carrot, chopped
·         1 garlic glove, minced
·         ½ cup flour
·         6 cups Chicken Stock
·         3 lbs baking potatoes, 1/2” cubes
·         1 lb sharp cheddar, shredded
·         1 cup heavy cream
·         Salt and pepper
·         Chopped scallions or chives for garnish

Sauté the bacon in the soup pot over medium-high heat.  Remove and set aside.  Pour off all but 1 Tbsp of the drippings. 
Add the butter and melt.  Add the leeks, onions, carrot and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent.  Sprinkle in the flour until the bacon fat is absorbed, stirring continuously.
Add chicken stock, stirring to dissolve the flour.

Add potatoes to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender.

Put the shredded cheese into a large mixing bowl.  Ladle in about a quarter of the hot soup liquid and stir until the cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth.  Add the mixture to the soup pot.
Gradually stir in the heavy cream.  Season to taste with the salt and pepper.  Heat the soup to desired thickness.  Ladle into warmed bowls and garnish with scallions or chives.

Enjoy..!






Ultimate Maldives Diving Getaway – Four Seasons Explorer


If you are up for a little underwater exploration in the Indian Ocean, specifically the Maldives, you might as well add a little extravagance to the equation.  Does a 129-foot, three deck luxury catamaran from the Four Seasons sound good?  If so, the Four Seasons Explorer is your ticket.

This 22-passenger “luxury liveaboard” travels between the spectacular Four Seasons resorts of Kuda Huraa and Landaa Giraavaru.  Along the way you’ll visit isolated reefs and world class dive-sites for the divers, uninhabited beaches for the sun worshipers, and even secluded village communities for the explorers.  Time it right on the calendar, and manta rays and whale sharks will be your underwater guests..!  On board the Explorer you have the PADI 5-Star Dive Centre, hosting up to 3 dives per day. 

Other cruise amenities include all-inclusive cuisine, beach barbecues, a lounge and library, both indoor and outdoor bars, and an on-board massage therapist to make absolutely certain you are relaxed.  Of course the renowned Four Seasons levels of service are along for the ride.

3, 4 and 7-night itineraries are available.  You can further customize your Maldives vacation by adding nights at either of the above listed resorts.  The Explorer is also available for private charters for you and 21 of your closest friends. 

Tropical paradise awaits..!
 
 

11/4/15

Jet Hopping, Four Seasons Style..!


What exactly is “jet hopping”..?

If the term conjures up images of a bouncy house inside of a 747, you’re way off base.  I will give you an “A” for creativity though.
Jet hopping is merely traveling by jet to a series of destinations on one trip.  The term has been around since the late 60s, give or take. 
Our friends at Four Seasons have decided to kick it up a notch with their take on jet hopping.  Let me introduce you to the Four Season Private Jet Experience
It starts with the bespoke Four Seasons Boeing 757 jet outfitted with 52 seats and a spacious and upgraded interior.  Each state-of-the-art flatbed seat is crafted in Italy with the requisite high-quality materials.  Any flight anxieties you may have will be quickly tended to by a glass of Dom Pérignon. Are you relaxed yet?  This is truly flying in comfort, style and class. 
Four itineraries are available.  Cultural Escape, Extraordinary Adventures, International Intrigue, and the following Timeless Discoveries…
Your journey will take you to nine destinations as you go around the world in 24 days.  You start in the City of Angels at the Beverly Wilshire for two nights.  Then the 757 flying limo takes you to Kona, followed by Bora Bora, Sydney, Bali, Chiang Mai, Mumbai, Prague and finally London.  Each stop provides an exclusive itinerary for the jet hoppers.  This is truly a unique adventure – possibly the ultimate way to circle the globe!
Choose your itinerary and book your flight now, as the next available trip is slated for January 26th, 2016, with more to follow.
Oh, I almost forgot.  Your ticket for the Timeless Discovery will set you back USD 132,000.  Bon Voyage!
 
 
 
 
 

10/25/15

The 2016 Porsche 911 Refresh - 991.2


Turbo is the word…

As anticipated and now confirmed, the venerable Porsche 911 is no longer naturally aspirated. 
Nicht mehr…

Only turbocharged engines will be available across the lineup, and some Porsche purists are surely unsettled, to say the least.  I boldly predict they will get over it…
Both the base 911 and the uprated S model receive the new, smaller displacement powerplants, all in the name of fuel efficiency.  The entry model is rated at 370 hp and 325 lb-ft, increases of 20 hp and 43 lb-ft over last year’s motor.  The sprint to 60 mph from a standstill will hit your speedometer in 4.4 seconds.  The higher-zoot S model produces 420 hp and 368 lb-ft, propelling the car to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds.

Are there other updates..?
Of course…  Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) is now standard on all 911s.  The infotainment system has been updated and is now standard as well.  Front and rear fascia designs are redone, including the three-dimensional taillight design first seen on the Macan.  Active air intake flaps in front open and close as needed, to improve airflow or cooling.  The list goes on…

Another 911, another success.  What is arguably the best everyday sports car just got better.  Don’t let the turbo scare you away.  One drive and these new engines will win you over.
After all, they say there is no substitute…
 
 

10/14/15

The New BMW M2 – Back to the M Roots…


Anticipation…

Merriam-Webster says:  “the act of looking forward; especially:  pleasurable expectation”
For several months, BMW geeks and car fans in general have been anticipating the arrival of the BMW F87, otherwise known as the M2.  The latest creation from the evil minds at BMW's Motorsport division will be coming to the states in early 2016.

The original M car, the ’87 – ’92 BMW M3, chassis code E30, was thought of as a street-legal racing platform.  Lightweight, nimble and somewhat raw, the car eventually became a classic, despite selling in small numbers.  Over the years, the M3 grew in size and weight, not to mention sales.  While all are superb sporting cars, purists thought something may have been lost from that original recipe.  The new M2 is smaller and lighter than the current M3/M4 (4 and 2-door, respectively) and might be just what the doctor ordered..!
The bits that make it go?

The classic BMW inline 6 cylinder motor, 3.0L and turbocharged, massaged to produce 365 hp and 343 lb-ft of torque.  I could get even more car geek and talk about Double VANOS, dry sump lubrication, high-pressure injection, but I will refrain.  What should you know?  With the available DCT dual-clutch transmission, you will hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, according to the factory.  By the way, BMW’s numbers are widely known to be conservative…  I’m guessing closer to 4.0.
Remember the rather famous road course in Germany called the Nurburgring that I talked about here?  The M2 lapped all 154 turns and 12.93 miles in 7 minutes and 58 seconds..!  Impressive…

The latest M machine comes in 4 colors (Long Beach Blue, Alpine White, Black Sapphire and Mineral Grey) with one available interior configuration.  You can however, choose your transmission, with the above mentioned 7-speed DCT or an old-school 6-speed manual.
No official pricing information has been released, but I will guess we are looking at $51,000 +/-.  If you’re interested, you may want to call your BMW rep now and get on the list.  These will sell like the hottest of hotcakes..!

Well done, BMW…
 
 
 

9/24/15

COHO Wines – The 10th Anniversary C2


What to do to mark a ten year anniversary…?

If you are a wine geek, you know of COHO and their well-made and very reasonably priced Napa wines.  For you non-grape geeks, here is a bit of a backgrounder.  After years in the industry working for other wineries, founders Gary Lipp and Brooks Painter decided to strike out on their own in 2002.  The goal was to produce well-crafted and balanced wines, and to sell them at a sane price point.  COHO was born…

As for the name… Legend has it that the COHO tag was inspired by an ancient Celtic legend: the Salmon of Knowledge, as well as their commitment to habitat preservation and restoration.  Nicely done…
Concentrating on single vineyard wines and a top-flight Bordeaux blend, COHO has gained a well-earned reputation for consistency in the wine press. After 10 years of hard work and making these exceptional wines, one has to celebrate, yes..?

Yes…
Which brings us to the 10th Anniversary 2012 COHO C2. 

What better way to represent the winery than with a combination of their top two (C2) single vineyard wines, the SummitVine Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon and the Michael Black Vineyard Merlot.  There is a splash of Chinn Vineyard Petit Verdot as well, to make things happy.  To appease the afore-mentioned wine geeks, the production notes are as follows:

Varietal Composition:      54% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot
Appellation:                       Napa Valley (from Coombsville and Diamond Mountain)

Clone:                                  Merlot-Black, Cabernet Sauvignon-337, Petit Verdot-181
Crush:                                  100% whole berries

Pre-fermentation:             5 days cold soak at 55 degrees F.
Fermentation:                    8 days followed by malo-lactic fermentation in barrels

Aging:                                  21 months in 100% French oak barrels, 50% new
Bottled:                               July 21, 2014

Production:                        277 cases (9 liter equivalent)
Release Date:                    October 1, 2015

Noted wine reviewer James Suckling says:  Fresh and beautiful with blueberry, boysenberry and spice character. Hints of cedar and wood too. Full body, firm tannins and a bright finish. Gorgeous. Drink or hold. 93 Points

That, my friends, is how to mark a ten year anniversary..!  As you can see, this is not a big production wine.  I recommend you put in the effort to track a bottle down and add to your cellar.

Cheers..!
 
 
 

9/22/15

Tick-Tock… The Hermès Apple Watch



French luxury goods manufacturer Hermès has been around since 1837.  That’s a lot of time to make a boatload of fine products.  But never one like this.
The Hermès Apple Watch

Horology may never be the same.  Clever marketing folks that they are, the Cupertino-based powerhouse had to cover the fashionista crowd to, quite frankly, sell more watches.  Will this gambit work?
The Apple engineers designed a custom watch face to mimic Hermès designs.  Then Hermès craftsmen supplied a selection of three handmade French leather bands.  You have the single tour – a simple leather strap available in brown or black.  Then there is the double tour – it wraps around twice (pictured).  Lastly is the cuff, which is equestrian inspired. 

Uh… snazzy…
In stores this October, your new timepiece will set you back a tidy $1,500.00. 

What time is it..?
 
 

9/20/15

Porsche Mission E Electric Car Rules Frankfurt


Shocking..!

Porsche has managed to generate the most buzz at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show with their Mission E electric car concept. 

Generate…     Buzz…      Electric…
OK, I will get down to business.  With Elon Musk and Tesla Motors squarely in the crosshairs, Porsche’s R and D chief Wolfgang Hatz says the “time is right” for electric vehicles.  This comes as no surprise, as Porsche has been dabbling in hybrid technology for quite some time with their Panamera and Cayenne E-Hybrids, as well as the tour de force 918 supercar.

The particulars for the Mission E look to be as follows: 
·         310 mile range on a single charge with a 15 minute recharge to 80% capacity. 
·         Propulsion equivalent to 600 horsepower. 
·         Zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds.  (Don’t blink!)

One neat little trick, the car will handle inductive charging.  No, this has nothing to do with your credit card.  What it means is that you simply pull the car into your garage, where it is parked over a charging plate.  No plug-in necessary.  Nice..!
These specifications are eerily similar to the current Tesla Model S.  While I doubt Elon Musk is worried, the consumer will certainly be pleased to have more choices in the luxury electric marketplace.  Porsche claims a production version within five years. 

I can’t wait..!


9/19/15

Onion Purée – Secret Flavor Booster



My wife’s garden is bursting with onions that need to be used.  What to do..?
Crema di Cipolle…

That sounds delicious, doesn’t it..?  It is, and I am here to tell you about it…
Most cooks and chefs have a flavoring trick or two tucked away that they use from time to time.  This one comes from Nick Stellino, whom I wrote about several years back.  Nick actually credits the following recipe to a Benedictine monastery near Palermo. 

A recipe from the heavens?
Regardless of the origin, this is good stuff.  Making soup?  Or maybe a pasta sauce?  A scoop of this onion purée will add depth of flavor.  Freeze the finished purée in ice cube trays and you have them ready as needed.  Buon appetito..!

Crema di Cipolle
·         5 large onions, thinly sliced
·         1 bay leaf
·         1 tsp thyme
·         ¼ tsp salt
·         ¼ tsp pepper
·         1 cup dry Marsala wine
·         2 quarts Beef or Chicken Stock (I use one of each)

Place all ingredients into a stockpot.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer to reduce liquid, 2 – 3 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.  When most of the liquid has evaporated, remove the bay leaf and put onions in a food processor.  Process until creamy.  Spoon the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze.  When frozen through, remove from trays and place in freezer bags.
Guard the cubes with your life, and don’t tell anybody about them…   It’s a secret..!
 
 
 

9/16/15

2015 Frankfurt International Motor Show pt. 2 – Cars Everywhere..!

Back to Frankfurt’s frenetic frenzy of automobile insanity we go..!  Yesterday I brought you some of the new SUV offerings headed to market.  Today let’s talk cars.  No crossovers or crazy one-offs, but vehicles headed to dealerships soon. 

And why not go topless to get things started…
How ‘bout our friends in England and the new Rolls Royce Dawn.  Can this convertible be the first “sexy” Rolls..?  Built off the Wraith chassis, the Dawn is sure to be a major seller for the esteemed marque.
If the Roller isn’t fast enough for you, let’s travel to Italy and visit a pair of thoroughbreds with removable roofs.  First up, the Ferrari 488 Spider.  A shrieking V-8 inches behind you and the wind in your hair.  What more do you really need..? 
 


The next Italian up is the fiery Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 Spyder.  This mid-engined V-10 powered beast is sure to get the heart going.  If not, you must be dead…
 
Now for something with 4-doors and a roof.  Long absent from the U.S., Alfa Romeo unveils the Giulia, a competitor to the BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class among others.  This is one sharp sedan and should do great when it reaches American shores.
 


The final production vehicle I am going to introduce you to has two doors and a roof.  Thus, a coupe…  From Mercedes-Benz comes the C-Class Coupe.  Due in dealerships next year, the coupe will come with 4 and 6-cylinder engines, as well as the monster-motored AMG version, for those that like to burn serious rubber..!
 
Stay tuned for more from Frankfurt…