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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


GSM – There’s No Place Like Rhone

If you do a reasonable amount of wine tasting or maybe just hang out in tasting rooms, you may have recently heard the term “Rhone blend” or more specifically…”it’s a GSM”.

While that may strike you as an acronym for a fancy car or a significant muscle injury, I am in fact referring to the varietals of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre from the Rhone wine region of France.

The GSM blend will normally consist largely of Grenache, followed by Syrah and then Mourvèdre. However, a visit to the northern Rhone region will see Syrah taking over the majority role. (Can you say SGM..?) These three varietals are the main players from the Rhone, but there are in fact over 20 grapes that are allowed in blends from the Rhone AOC. Many blends will use small quantities of Carignan, Cinsaut, Viognier or other secondary varieties. Just use the term “Rhone blend” and you will be sure to cover all your bases.

Rhone blends are for the most part ready to drink right off the bat but can be aged for a few years if desired. The flavor profile leans toward ripe dark berries with some peppery, earthy, rustic qualities. For a great food pairing try some rosemary herbed meats on the grill.

Fire up the barbeque, open that Rhone blend and enjoy..!


The New BMW M5 – Fifth Generation Monster

In a follow-up to my article on the M5 “Concept”, BMW has now released the official specs for the production vehicle.

But first, a brief history lesson…

It all started in 1984, when BMW’s M (Motorsport) division decided to take their midsize 5-Series sedan and…how shall I put this? …”increase the performance envelope” with various suspension and powertrain modifications. A succession of high-performance yet stealthy sedans followed.

This brings us to today’s 5th generation fire-breathing beast of a car, known in BMW-speak as the F10 M5.

Here now are the official details:

• A twin scroll turbocharged V8 with 560 freaking insane horsepower and 501 lb-ft of torque!

• 7-speed DCT transmission, although spy photos seem to indicate that a 6-speed manual will be available in the near future as well.

• Top speed of 189 mph with the optional M-Drivers Package.

• 0-100km (62 mph) in 4.4 seconds

• Two configurable set-ups accessible from the M Drive button on the steering wheel. Customizable parameters include suspension, steering, throttle, shifting, head-up display and kryptonite… (Uh… never mind the kryptonite!)

Top this off with a generous helping of M-specific exterior and interior design cues, as well as improved fuel economy, and you have one impressive vehicle.

The 2012 M5 should be available early Q4 of this year. Place that order now!


BMW’s 2012 1-Series Hatchback Debuts (F20)

The most diminutive of BMW 4-door models, the 1-Series hatchback, has been reengineered from the ground up.

The Bavarian hot hatch gets all new sheetmetal, although the redesign is what I would categorize as mildly progressive in regards to the previous generation. Showing cues from BMWs current design direction, the new 1-er sports a similar grille treatment as the recently updated 7 and 5-Series. The car’s side and rear hatch treatments both show subtly tailored improvements as well. The main item of discussion however is sure to be the headlight design... best judged in person to get the full effect. Overall the car projects the sporty persona that BMW is known for.

Speaking of sporty, the F20 (factory production code) maintains rear-wheel drive, quite possibly the single most important aspect to many BMW aficionados for the handling characteristics this imparts. Two engines in five different flavors will initially be offered. The 116i and 118i use an in-line 4 cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine outputting 136 and 170 horsepower respectively. Three diesel variants, also a 4 cylinder turbocharged engine, will power the 116d, 118d and 120d models.

The interior of the little Bimmer looks to be nicely put together with the expected levels of quality materials and fit and finish. The latest iteration of BMW’s ubiquitous iDrive navigation system will be optional. The car will be available in two pre-packaged configurations, labeled Sport Line and Urban Line.

And now for the bad news… the American contingent will again be bypassed with availability as the decision makers in Munich continue to feel that small premium hatchbacks are not in demand. Maybe we can change their minds..!


Jaeger-LeCoultre and the Custom Reverso

Today we are going to discuss high-end luxury watches. More specifically the Swiss brand Jaeger-LeCoultre. Or for you ultra-cool hipsters, “JLC”.

In 1833 a Swiss gent by the name of Antoine LeCoultre opened a small workshop manufacturing high-quality timepieces. Years later his grandson teamed up with a Frenchman by the name of Edmond Jaeger and the rest is history. Today these elegant watches with their consummate movements sell for $5,000 and up… a true luxury item.

Oftentimes when making a purchase of this sort, the buyer would like some sort of customization to make it a one-off item. Adding that certain singular quality to the watch…

JLC agrees and is now offering the chance to do so from your living room couch via the Internet with their Reverso model and this website. The aptly named Reverso is known for its flip-around case, and now the backside can be enhanced with engravings, enamel work or jewel settings. The only limit is your imagination…and of course your checkbook.

Mitsubishi TV Goes Big – Dumps LCD

Electronics giant Mitsubishi is following a curious path in the world of HD televisions.

While virtually all other manufacturers are investing heavily in the world of LCD and to some degree Plasma displays, those making the decisions at Mitsubishi are abandoning that ship…but climbing aboard another featuring rear projection.

Yes, I said “rear projection”…

Surely you recall those large boxes that were all the television status symbol rage back in the pre-flat screen days. Well, fortunately technology has progressed and those boxes are now slender, lightweight and project a mighty impressive image! As virtually all other manufacturers have left this technology, Mitsubishi would appear to have the market cornered.

Maybe not such a crazy idea after all..!

And now for the particulars… The entry-level will be the 640 Series, which consists of a 3D capable 73-inch screen in full 1080p that will retail for $1,599. A step up is the 740 Series in both 73 and 82-inch sizes and adds built in 3D, networking capability and a remote app for iPhones and iPads. Pricing here is set at $2,099 and $3,499 respectively.

The top of the heap will be the Diamond 840 Series which has the 73 and 82-inch sizes, as well as a ginormous 92-inch model priced at $5,999. The Diamond series adds advanced picture controls as well as the Clear Contrast Screen, Bluetooth audio support and a 16-speaker sound projector.

Did I say 92-inches..? Wow!

If you want to go big with your home theater, this may be your ticket..!