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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

7/31/16

Blueberry Margarita – Cure for the Summertime Blues



A good heatwave can crank up the thirst level like nobody’s business!  After a week of summertime heat with triple digits in full effect, it was time for a little quenching. 

Coinciding with said heat-generated thirst crisis, there happened to be a large container of blueberries in the fridge.

Hmmm…     Blueberries…     Thirsty…
And just like that, visions of blueberry margaritas danced in my parched frontal lobe.  I decided to conjure up a simple recipe for this blue-tinted elixir.  As with all things cocktail, there are 387,000 different variations of each recipe in the ether.  Mine is purposefully streamlined with minimal ingredients and easy to adjust if need be.  Construction is as follows:

For 2 cocktails…
·         ½ cup blueberries
·         Juice of 2 limes
·         4 oz. blanco tequila (good quality is a must)
·         1.5 oz. Cointreau
·         Splash of agave nectar to taste

Muddle blueberries with lime juice.  Strain into cocktail shaker.  Add remaining ingredients with ice and shake to combine.  Pour over ice in two rocks glasses.  Garnish with skewered blueberries or a lime wedge.
Done…      Thirst vanquished…!

A quick and simple recipe for a hot summer’s eve.  Feel free to edit things to your liking.  My half-cup of blueberries was overflowing.  You can also dial up or down the nectar and try taking the Cointreau down to 1 oz. and see how it works for you. 
Cheers…!




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

Yvette - Wilson Audio’s Newest Speaker Gem


The folks at one of my favorite speaker companies, Wilson Audio in Provo, Utah, are at it again!  They have been on a roll lately, debuting several new models in their sonic lineup.  (see the Sabrina and Alexandria blogs)  The latest is a replacement for the Sophia model, but there has been a name change…

Introducing Yvette!

The complete and utter reengineering of the Sophia called for the name change.  Daryl Wilson states on the company Facebook page that the speaker “...no longer was of Sophia DNA”.
Fine then…

It’s all good news for the audiophile and music loving crowd.  Using trickle-down technology from their Alexia and Alexx projects, Yvette is sure to perform in spectacular fashion.  Wilson Audio claims Yvette to be “the most advanced and musically refined single-enclosure loudspeaker in Wilson’s history.”  Of course your ears will be the judge...!
As for specification, Yvette is a 3-way speaker with a 1” tweeter, 7” midrange and 10” woofer filling out the low end.  Frequency Response is said to be +/- 3 dB from a low 20 Hz (hello pipe organ) all the way up to 25 kHz.  The cabinet itself is comprised of Wilson’s proprietary X-Material and S-Material composites and each tower weighs in at 175 lbs and stands 41” tall.

Warning!  Don’t try to move these by yourself…!
With all of the improvements in enclosure technology, speaker construction and time coherency, the Yvette is sure to sound a cut above.  If you are in the market for a pair of transducers in the mid-20K range, these need to be on your audition list.  I don’t think your ears will be disappointed!




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

7/22/16

Carpano Antica Formula – Sweet Vermouth from Heaven!



Cocktails of the carefully crafted variety are all the rage these days.  Hip watering holes with creative and talented ‘tenders are drawing in customers like flies on…

Nevermind that…
For those of you wanting to duplicate this cocktail experience at home, what is the starting point, the single most important thing you must do before you even pour a drop of elixir...?

Use good ingredients!
Just as in cooking, it all starts with what you put in.  You have to use top shelf ingredients to get a top shelf final result.  Which brings us to…

This is not some crazy baby food, but rather what may possibly be the best sweet vermouth gracing planet earth. 

Are you a Manhattan drinker?  Or perhaps a Negroni or Americano?  Sweet Vermouth is a highlight of these cocktails, and use of the Carpano Antica Formula is revelatory.  Your taste buds will be seriously happy campers!
Who do you thank for this adult beverage happiness? 

The time was 1786, the location was Turin, Italy.  Antonio Beneditto Carpano, studying to be an herbalist (a title bearing a different connotation these days?), invented the formula that brought forth all things Vermouth.  One such recipe was the Antica Formula, which has been faithfully recreated to this day.  White wine is the base, with botanicals including vanilla, saffron, wormwood, burnt sugar, and numerous other aromatics in the mix.  The refining process can last several months, which includes multiple quality control stages.  They take this stuff very seriously at the Fratelli Branca Distillerie, where the vermouth is made.  Word has it only three living humans know the entire recipe!
You can enjoy Carpano Anitca Formula on the rocks with an orange slice, or in the above mentioned cocktails.  Either way, I guarantee this is one fine palate pleaser!

Cheers…
 
 
 

7/14/16

Barbuda Belle = Caribbean Beach Paradise


Today I am thinking of relaxation, privacy, isolation…  and one of the best soft sand beaches extant.

Sound intriguing?

Come along with me to the eastern Caribbean, specifically the 60 square miles of Barbuda. 

No, I didn’t say “Bermuda”…
Close to Antigua, Barbuda takes a bit of time to reach.  A puddle jumper from Antiqua will do the trick.  From the airport you will hop a speedboat to whisk you to the somewhat uninhabited northern tip of the island, known as Cedar Point. 

Welcome to Barbuda Belle
The true definition of a boutique hotel, Barbuda Belle has a whopping six beachside bungalows.  Take my word for it, you will be away from the madding crowds.  Furnished in a plush yet rustic style, the bungalows are not only comfortable but even have Wi-Fi, if you absolutely positively must stay connected.  I think you might toss the tablet into the ocean and simply laze on your private balcony enjoying the endless views of surf, sand and sea.  You are also provided a cell phone, with which to… well… order things! 

Relaxed yet?
You do get to eat there as well.  The Mangrove restaurant serves breakfast and dinner, with a skilled French chef at the helm.  Lunch is catered to you on the beach, or wherever you might specify.  Daytime activities include hiking, bird-watching, kayaking and perhaps a stint aboard a catamaran on the ocean.
If a quiet beach getaway is your thing, look no further.  Barbuda Belle is highly recommended.

Ahhhh….


7/9/16

Van Cleef & Arpels Gives You the Stars…!


Actually, its only planets, but I think it will do…

In what has to be the ultimate star-geek astronomer fashion accessory, French jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels brings us the Midnight Plan├ętarium watch.  Literally the solar system on your wrist…!
That’s heavy!

What you get is a timepiece showing six of the planets rotating around the sun, in real time.  With the sun centered on the dial, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn rotate at their actual speed and relative positions on six separate discs.  The craftsmanship involved is quite frankly insane! 
Not to worry, with all this astronomical wizardry going on, you can still tell the earthly time.  The outermost ring of the dial has a gold shooting star that passes along a 24-hour scale.  Go figure…

Since the company’s 1896 birth, I doubt Van Cleef & Arpels has created anything quite so out-of-this-world.  Crafted in 18-karat rose gold, the watch can be yours for a cool $260,000 dollars.  Highly recommended to the fashion conscious space travelers among us…!
 
 

7/7/16

Wine Time – Hope and Grace in Yountville


“Hope and Grace in Yountville”…  

Wasn’t that a movie or a book or…?  Would you believe a small production winery centered in that laid-back culinary mecca otherwise known as Yountville, California?

The personal project of winemaker Charles Hendricks, Hope and Grace Wines (named after the winemaker’s daughters) had an inaugural release in 2001 with a Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands.  Currently several varietals are produced along with the Pinots, including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a rare-for-Napa Malbec, that has been surprisingly and consistently excellent!  Current production is a modest 3,000 cases per annum, so you won’t find these wines at the local grocery store…
Thoughtful and humble, Charles’ winemaking philosophy is to let nature do its thing, guiding the grapes along in subtle ways to bring out their best.  A quick taste through of the Hope and Grace portfolio reveals the success of these methods.  Other wineries over the years have reaped the benefits of Charles’ talents as well, including Viader, Barnett and Regusci, to name a few. 

 The tasting room in Napa is relaxed and unpretentious, and the staff fits that style while being well-versed in the wines and even adding in plenty of humor along the way.  I find it an excellent stop in the afternoon, when the early appointments are done.  A great place to linger and enjoy the finely crafted grape juice!  If that sounds appealing, I highly recommend a visit…!
And now for a little insider tip:  Keep an eye out for the Hendricks labeled wines.  In the extraordinary vintages, Charles will make small lots of Cabernet or Pinot that represent his ultimate ideal of the varietal and the vintage.  Seek them out, as they make a fabulous addition to any cellar…!

It all adds up to a winner in the Connoisseur’s book…!
Cheers…!



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

7/3/16

Moscow Mule for Summer – Watermelon and Raspberry


It’s hot, and I am thirsty…!

Likely a thought going through a lot of minds this time of year.  One of the more popular cool down beverages these days is the Moscow Mule, which has its roots back in 1941.

You know the drill:
·         1.5 oz Vodka
·         Juice of ½ lime
·         4 oz ginger beer
·         1 copper mug
·         Ice

Mix all ingredients in the oft stolen copper mug (a complaint of bartenders everywhere) and stir.  The mug chills nicely, with the cooling condensation on the outside.  Refreshing indeed...!
Well, I simply cannot leave well-enough alone.  To kick up that heat-beating refreshment, try one of these two variations for a change of pace.  Both require an extra step of prep, but this is easy stuff...

Watermelon Moscow Mule
·         1.5 oz Vodka
·         1.5 oz Watermelon puree
·         Juice of ½ lime
·         3 oz ginger beer
·         1 copper mug
·         Ice

For the puree, simply blend seedless watermelon flesh and then strain.

Raspberry Moscow Mule
·         1.5 oz Vodka
·         10 raspberries
·         Juice of ½ lime
·         4 oz ginger beer
·         1 copper mug
·         Ice

Combine berries and vodka in a shaker and muddle the berries, strain into the copper mug.
Note:  I like to add a splash of agave nectar to both recipes for an extra nip of sweetness.
Both of these drinks are excellent, but I am betting you will have a favorite.  Try them both and let me know what you think.  You can even try other variations…  mango anyone?

Cheers..!
 
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

7/2/16

2017 Porsche Panamera – All New, All Amazing!



In 2010 Porsche began production of the model 970 sedan, known to you and I as the Panamera. 

There were questions…
Did it drive like a proper Porsche?  Yes…

Was the interior nicely appointed?  Yes, in a Porsche sort of way...
Was the exterior recognizable as a Porsche?  Yes…

Was the car good looking?  Did it appeal to the eye?
Meh…

That last one is a problem.  While it does have a good road presence, the model 970 Panamera has some proportion issues, namely the bubble butt.  Due to a design edict to have headroom for 7’ 10” people in the back seat (not really), the slope of the roofline into the rear of the car just didn’t work.  Some could overlook this issue and the car has sold reasonably well.
Enter the all-new second generation Panamera…

Problem solved…!
Let me remove any mystery of my opinion right now.  Porsche has hit a home run with the 2017 Panamera…!  All proportions, including that dreaded roofline curve, now make perfect sense.  The butt of this baby is now sexy, courtesy of design queues from the latest generation of the 911.  The entire sedan has a clean, stunning and modern look. 

Another gripe I have had with recent Porsche vehicles, that is now being rectified, has been the info/nav tech.  A wholly new touch interface on a 12-inch center mounted TFT screen is neatly integrated into the dash and handles pretty much anything you can throw at it.  The driver’s instrument cluster has also been modernized, with a center mounted analog tachometer flanked by two smaller TFT screens, each controllable from the steering wheel.  It all adds up to one impressive upgrade.
As for some engine specs, at launch we will see a Panamera 4S with a twin-turbo V-6 rated at 440 horsepower.  The Panamera Turbo comes V-8 equipped, bringing 550 horses to the tarmac.  In the near future expect to see an entry level V-6 with 350-ish horsepower, and a hybrid version as well.  All Panameras come with an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission from ZF.

Stunning inside and out, with tech now rivaling anything from the recently updated S-Class and 7-Series, not to mention driving dynamics in line with the brand, Porsche has a hit on its hands…!
All new, all amazing!



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