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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

9/28/16

Wine Time – Blankiet Estate




Many moons ago I was at a wine tasting event in Yountville and stumbled upon a sip of the ’08 vintage of some grape juice from a gem called Blankiet Estate.  Needless to say, it was stunning wine and my taste buds were smitten.

And now for trivia time…

Hop into that way-back machine…  Do you remember stonewashed jeans?

If I may introduce Claude Blankiet.  Claude’s family in France was involved in textiles for several generations, and sure enough, Claude brought the stonewash technology to the United States…


Fast forward to 1996.  With an eye toward wine, Claude and wife Katherine end up with a prime piece of land in the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains, just to the west of Yountville.  The Paradise Hills Estate vineyard was developed with the help of famed vineyard manager David Abreu and another big name, winemaker Helen Turley.  Divvied up into four sections, each with unique soil and microclimate properties, the estate was planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot.

So far so good…


The Blankiet’s vision had come to fruition, and the proof was in the pudding… er… wine..!

Now under the care of winemaker Graeme MacDonald with George Avina managing the vineyard, Blankiet Estate continues along its path of growing great grapes, following meticulous winemaking processes and turning out world class wines.  The current portfolio consists of the Estate Proprietary Red, a Cab-based Bordeaux blend, the Estate Rive Droite, a “right bank” Merlot-based blend, the newly added Mythicus 100% Cabernet, the Prince of Hearts Red, another Cab blend, and finally the Prince of Hearts Rosé, which is spectacular in its own right.

A visit to this estate is an experience certainly worthwhile.  Not just for the excellent wines, but the spectacular grounds aren’t too shabby either.  Well-versed in all things wine and Blankiet, host Patrick Walters will ease you through a tour of the vineyards, the wine making facility and finally the tasting.  The entire experience is topped off by the tasting room itself.  Unlike few I’ve experienced, the room is part of a marvel of architecture otherwise known as the Blankiet residence.  All summed, this is truly a “must” for a wine tasting experience…


Cheers…!




9/25/16

Wine Time - Killer Cabs from Beau Vigne..!


Family…    An important word to Ed Snider, founder of Beau Vigne Winery.  With Napa Valley roots dating back to 1913, this family-owned winery sprung to life in 2002 and has been rocketing skyward ever since!

A true boutique-sized producer with production of roughly 4,000 cases per annum, the estate currently consists of 9 planted acres, 8 dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon and 1 acre split between Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  The vines are located in the Atlas Peak appellation to the east of the valley at the Stags Ridge Vineyard & Ranch.  Grapes are also sourced from other top shelf vineyards such as Dutton Ranch and Lewelling. 


Killer Cabs = yum…!

With Ed crafting the wine and Kirk Venge consulting, Beau Vigne has been cranking out some pretty terrific Cabernet Sauvignons and blends.  Word has it that one Mr. Parker even granted a perfect score to the 2013 Beau Vigne Reserve..!  Indeed, the entirety of the Beau Vigne Cab-based lineup from the Estate through the Juliet and Romeo bottlings are all worthy of mention, as the quality is at a consistently top-tier level.  Other finely crafted varietals are represented in the portfolio, including Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. 



A recent visit to the tasting room in Yountville yielded a relaxed and educational tasting.  Beau Snider, son of Ed (remember “family”), is a knowledgeable and thoughtful host, a trait that seems to apply to all at Beau Vigne. Walk-ins are welcomed here, as well as more tailored visits via appointment.  Should you be the adventurous type, vineyard tours can also be booked in advance.

Well worth seeking out, Beau Vigne will be a highlight of any trip to the Napa Valley…

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

9/24/16

CRN’s Atlante - Super Yacht or Battleship?




In sharp contrast to other yachts from Italian builder CRN, the exterior design of the 180-foot Atlante sports a decidedly militarized look.  Venice-based yacht design studio Nuvolari Lenard penned the dark, angular and brooding craft, lending a distinct presence that stands out in the luxury yacht crowd.

It’s not a Battleship…

Once aboard, you lose the military vibe courtesy of a subtler design touch from Gilles & Bossier interior design.  You will find the expected luxury trimmings and style in a crisp and clean aesthetic.  A killer master suite, stylized living areas, a customized “beach club” and various automatic sun roofs are among the features present and accounted for.  And don’t forget the 20 tons of marble…
Did I say “20 tons”?

Indeed, there are 20 tons of marble walling throughout the yacht’s interior.  Apparently marble does float.  Truly rock and roll…!
For a closer look, check out CRN’s video tour.  This is one killer battleship… er… yacht…!





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

9/14/16

YG Acoustics Sonja XV – World’s Best Speaker?



The folks at YG Acoustics have gone totally bonkers…!

Not really, but they sure do know how to mark a milestone!  The Colorado-based speaker manufacturer, founded by one Yoav Geva, is celebrating their 15th anniversary.  What better way to do so than creating your ultimate statement, the best speaker you can engineer, no holds barred!

Say hello to the Sonja XV   
(A wee bit more sizeable than their entry-level Carmel 2 in my article here…)

Four towers (two per side), twenty drivers, and 18 months of development time have yielded an impressive beast.  This was truly a cost-no-object program, with virtually all elements engineered and machined in-house.  Interestingly enough, the star of all this grandiosity may very well be the smallest element:  the tweeter!
Come on people!  It’s the small speaker producing the highest notes…

During the development process, the YG team came up with what they refer to as their BilletDome tweeter.  They describe it as their “most complex mechanical invention to date”.  While I have yet to hear the Sonja XV, some industry insiders are reporting jaw-dropping sound, largely due to this little gem!
Along with the tweeter, improvements were made in the bass, mid-bass and midrange drivers, as well as all crossovers.  As per YG Acoustics tradition, the cabinets themselves are over-engineered, leading to vanishing levels of vibration and mechanical loss.

Even the sight is impressive, in an industrial sort of way.  Each of the four towers stands 70” tall and scales at 463 pounds, give or take an ounce.
The best there is?  Quite possibly, but you will need to let your ears decide.  Impressive for sure, and well worth an audition if you are in the top-of-the-line market.

MSRP:  $265,900.00



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

9/5/16

W&P Design Carry-On Cocktail Kit – Flying Right..!



For the cocktail connoisseur among you, what do you do when you are at 38,000 feet? 

Let’s face it, an adult beverage made by a flight attendant qualifies as generic at best.  That Bloody Mary will surely leave something to be desired…

No worries folks, the team at W&P Design has come to the rescue with their Carry-On Cocktail Kit!
Now you can be your own mixologist while blasting through the clouds at warp speed.  5 kits are available, covering various tastes…

·         Old Fashioned

·         Gin & Tonic

·         Moscow Mule

·         Champagne Cocktail

·         Bloody Mary

Each kit contains ingredients for two beverages. 
If you are on a long flight and have a spirited thirst, you may want to bring along multiples.  The Travel Pack will do that for you.  A canvas and leather bag, it holds three kits and comes with one each of the Mule, Gin & Tonic and Old Fashioned.  The kits are individually priced at $24.00, and the Travel Pack w/3 kits goes for $90.00. 

Now your taste buds are sure to enjoy the flight…
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


9/3/16

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe – No Coupe Here!



The folks at Mercedes-Benz HQ in Stuttgart truly have no regard whatsoever for automotive naming convention.  Not only are there four doors plus a hatchback on the GLC Coupe, but it is not even a car…!

SUV...?   Crossover…?  Eh…
So what do we really have here?  Let’s start with Mercedes’ recently introduced GLC mid-sized SUV.  A well designed and engineered vehicle getting a substantial amount of kudos from the automotive press.  Now let’s chop the rear roofline down and lower the thing a bit in the name of sport and style. 

Actually, I place much blame on MB’s rival, BMW.  A while back, BMW created this sport SUV niche with the creation of the X6, based on their “normal” X5 SUV.  Mercedes followed with their GLE Coupe, based on the GLE SUV.  BMW fires back with the X4, based on the mid-sized X3.  MB now returns fire with the GLC Coupe. 
Sheesh…!

There will be two flavors of the GLC Coupe, the first being the 4-cylinder powered base model with 241-hp and 273 lb-ft of torque.  This is the same engine proliferating the C-Class and GLC lineup.  A 9-speed transmission shifts the gears, driving the 4Matic all-wheel drive.  All of the usual Mercedes tech bits are either standard or can be had with a check of the right boxes on the order form.  The next step up in performance will be the AMG GLC 43 (pictured), from the Benz performance wing.  This will bump you up to a V6 biturbo engine spitting out 362-hp, 384 lb-ft of torque, and several speeding tickets…!
GLC Coupe interior bits are lifted from the C-Class and GLC, meaning you get one of the best driving environments in the class. 

To my eyes the GLC Coupe is the best realization of this aesthetically challenged class of SUV, certainly better proportioned than their larger GLE Coupe.  I suspect you will see a sampling of this new buggy at your favorite high-profile valet stand in the near future. 
Due in showrooms early next year, if a sporty hauler is your thing, the GLC Coupe is definitely worth a look…

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