A Host’s Guide for the Holidays

Overview

Return of a legend: The Ford GT takes aim at the 360 Modena.  Our annual celebration, Watches and fine jewelry.

From This Issue

Home Electronics: Blue Ribbon Winner

the concept behind the ribbon speaker is rather straightforward. A thin strip of conducting foil (the ribbon) is suspended between the poles of powerful magnets. The ribbon is secured at the top and bottom and moves within the magnetic field as the amplifier’s signal stimulates the magnets, resulting in a pleasing, open sound. The ribbon […]

Furnishings: Art Deco Undercover

Pierre Lahalle and Georges Levard created some of the most exotic furniture of the early Art Deco period, but only a handful of French connoisseurs were familiar with their work. That changed with the debut of an exquisite suite of Lahalle and Levard bedroom furniture—two side chairs ($8,000), an armoire, a bench, two single beds, […]

Appliances: Nothing to Sneeze At

When Harvard Medical School psychiatrist/psychoanalyst Martha Stark realized that she was allergic to pollen and grasses, she began studying the effects of environmental impurities on mental and physical health. “What I learned was that all of us, every day, are being bombarded by pollutants, most of them man-made, and reacting in some way or another,” […]

City Lights

“Richard Neutra told me long ago that architecture must keep up with the times,” says David L. Davies, the owner of a taut, planar, white stucco house that Neutra designed in San Francisco. “When I bought the place in 1970,” recalls Davies, a former advertising executive, “I decided to subdivide it horizontally into two duplex […]

FrontRunners: Traveling Light

Increased security at airports has added to the woes of public air travel. LuggageFree (800.361.6871, http://www.luggagefree.com) aims to reduce the inconvenience of flying by picking up your bags from your home or office and delivering them directly to your hotel. At the end of your trip, the com­pany simply ships your bags back home. LuggageFree […]

Travel: Aging Gracefully

When it was built in 1931, London’s Dorchester hotel raised eyebrows among some Englishmen who preferred their hotels to be understated, monastic, and no more lively than the charts room of the Royal Naval Museum. By contrast, with its soaring Art Deco facade, marble-columned Promenade festooned with voluptuous naiads, and lavish, romantic guest quarters, the […]

Journeys: High Hopes

The Pinzgauer 710 transport vehicle plods its way stubbornly over clumps of broam grass and foxtail on the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. Olaf Mingo is behind the wheel of the German-engineered, Austrian-made, and Swiss-operated military jeep, a Cold War remnant now serving a more peaceful purpose at the Latir Mountain […]

Robb Design Portfolio: The Tribal Tastemakers

Early paintings by Picasso and his contemporaries demonstrate just how strong the aesthetic influence of primitivism was on 20th-century European art. Meanwhile, the era’s collectors and ethnographers were just beginning to understand the distinct plastic vocabularies of more than 100 tribes of sub-Saharan Africa. Fortunately, the handing down of ancient religions and traditions has ensured […]

FrontRunners: Health Yourself

Carl Pratt tells you that he wants nothing more—or less—than to change your life, and he may succeed if you take four days out of your crowded schedule to attend the Executive Health Program at Canyon Ranch (800.742.9000, http://www.canyonranch.com) spa in Lenox, Mass., or Tucson, Arizona.   Pratt, managing director at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, […]

FrontRunners: El Circo

Mexico City may seem like an unlikely place for the ringmaster of Le Cirque to stage the follow-up to his thriving Man– hattan and Las Vegas locations. However, Le Cirque founder Sirio Maccioni determined that Mexico’s metropolitan capital—far from the bustling energy of Madison Avenue and the garish lights of the Las Vegas strip—would be […]

FrontRunners: Hi-Fi and Hideaways

Adele Cygelman, Robb Report’s home and design editor and editor of The Robb Report Collection, along with photographer Erica Lennard, reveals some of Los Angeles’ most intimate green spaces in Secret Gardens of Hollywood and Private Oases in Los Angeles (Universe Books, an imprint of Rizzoli New York, 2003), a hardcover book published in September. […]

Dining: Tea Time

“Full-bodied,” “fruity,” and “smoky” are descriptions that once belonged solely to the lexicon of wine, but another centuries-old beverage is inspiring converts to praise its pleasures in oenological terms. Tea has captured the interest of Americans like never before, thanks to a number of tea companies, hotels, and restaurants that are showing their patrons the […]

Smoke: And the Ban Played On

It is a typical evening at Lexington Bar and Books on Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side, and the bar is awash in cool jazz and crowds of stylish men and women enjoying cocktails and Cabernets. However, something seems amiss. At the end of the bar, two young women, between sips of wine and bouts of […]

Host Guide: 99 Bottles of Wine

From the grail-like 2000 Bordeaux vintage to the stunning 1999 Napa Valley Cabernets, 2003 has seen its share of exceptional bottlings. Here, we present 99 of our favorites—a diverse collection of wines ideal to give, serve, or cellar this holiday season.   Our 99 picks appear in these three articles: The Gift of Wine The […]

Host Guide: 99 Bottles of Wine: The Gift of Wine

Maison Joseph Drouhin 2000 Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos Explosive and juicy with amplified flavors of spice and white fruit. Chalk Hill 2000 Chardonnay Clone Collection Highly collectible box set of six single-clone Chards from the winery’s Oak Hill vineyard. Robert Talbott 2000 Chardonnay, Cuvée Audrey, Diamond T Estate, Monterey Thick, rich, and toasty with […]

Host Guide: 99 Bottles of Wine: The Holiday Host

Brewer-Clifton 2001 Chardonnay, Sweeney Canyon, Santa Rita Hills Gorgeous Chardonnay from a team of Santa Barbara’s best winemakers; charming honey, spice, and citrus. Hendry Ranch 2000 Chardonnay, Blocks 9 & 21, Napa Valley One of several solid Chardonnays from this producer; excellent structure and notes of oak, fruit, and spice. Devil’s Lair 2001 Chardonnay, Margaret […]

Host Guide: 99 Bottles of Wine: Classics Are for Keeping

Domaine Faiveley 1999 Grand Cru, Corton-Charlemagne Sweet flavors of vanilla and exotic spice race through this long, structured Burgundian beauty. Louis Jadot 2002 Corton-Charlemagne This one has it all: grip, depth, and richness, with notes of honey, butter, and white fruit. (available in 2004) Labouré-Roi 1999 Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru Champs Gains Elegant, rich, and […]

Robb Report Host Guide

Whether served at a holiday gathering or presented as a gift to be savored later, a pre-Castro Cuban cigar, a bottle of Château Margaux, or a glass of Chivas Royal Salute 50-Year-Old—a blend of rare Scotch whiskies released this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953—reflects a host’s sense […]

Host Guide: Holiday Spirits

The holiday season offers occasions to gather with family and friends, to toast the successes of the past 12 months and anticipate the blessings of those to come, to express appreciation for jobs well-done and support rendered, and even to reward oneself at the end of another busy year.   Whatever the occasion or the […]

Host Guide: Holiday Spirits: From the Olde Sod

Bowmore 25 Year Old The smoky, peaty pungency of Scotland’s Islay malts is an acquired taste. This new bottling of Bowmore’s whiskies, some as old as 31 years, has been aged in oloroso sherry casks in the island’s salty air. The result is extraordinarily dark and smooth, with the peat offset by notes of dark […]

Host Guide: Holiday Spirits: Made in the USA

A.H. Hirsch Reserve Michter’s Distillery in Schaefferstown, Pa., was the first licensed distillery in the United States, and while it is now closed, the 1974 bottlings of its A.H. Hirsch Reserve can still be found. This robust bourbon with its hints of mint, toffee, and apricots is worth the search. Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve […]

Host Guide: Holiday Spirits: White on White

Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength Gin Although the company producing Martin Miller’s has been in existence only since 1999, it employs what is said to be England’s oldest copper still. However, the secret of this smooth, well-rounded gin is the pure glacial water from Selyri Spring in Iceland. Just enough juniper notes shine through at the […]

Host Guide: Holiday Spirits: Hemispherics

El Tesoro Paradiso Made from blue agave grown on the Jalisco highland estate of Don Felipe, this tequila is a blend of mature and silver tequilas aged for five years in cognac barrels. The result is an extraordinary smooth spirit that can be sipped like a fine single malt. San Matias Rey Sol Casa San […]

Host Guide: Holiday Spirits: After-Dinner Delights

Darroze Domaine Saint Aubin 1967 Bas-Armagnac If you prefer a great Armagnac—named for the appellation in the southwest of France—to cognac for its earthier, peppery taste, this is the one to pour. It can be difficult to find, because the Domaine de Saint Aubin closed in 1982 and now grows corn. The Bas-Armagnacs of Darroze […]

Host Guide: Holiday Spirits: Barware to Lift Your Spirits

Modern Martini If you prefer your martinis stirred, not shaken, the Martini Pitcher and Stirrer ($340) from William Yeoward (www.williamyeowardcrystal.com) is the appropriate accoutrement. Part of the prestigious London crystal maker’s celebrated Marcie collection, the crystal pitcher is tall, slender, and thoroughly modern while retaining a classic feel. On the Road If your travels take […]

Host Guide: Holiday Spirits: On the Case

  Grey Goose Vodka The rise of Grey Goose to the top of the premium vodka sales charts is not an accident. The French distiller’s five-column, copper-pot distillation process, plus the pure spring water from Gente Springs in the Cognac region, results in a perfectly smooth vodka. You will want a case of the pure […]

Host Guide: Smoker’s Triumvirate

Nothing caps a social gathering quite as elegantly as an after-dinner cigar. Whether this smoke is a time-tested classic, a rare find, or an extremely exclusive offering, it will invite relaxation, spur conversation, and satisfy the senses of the connoisseur and the occasional smoker alike.   Our picks appear in the following articles: The Essentials […]

Host Guide: Smoker’s Triumvirate: The Essentials

Fuente Hemingway 7-Inch Classic Of the six shapes in the Hemingway line, ranging from the 91⁄2-inch Masterpiece to the 41⁄2-inch Short Story, our preference is the 7 x 48 Classic. It provides thick, Cameroon-wrapped spiciness for a full hour—not so long that a guest overstays his welcome nor so short that the evening ends prematurely. […]

Host Guide: Smoker’s Triumvirate: Rare Prizes

  Pre-Castro Montecristo No. 2 The two most likely ways to obtain these cherished pre-embargo smokes are at auction, where the going rate is $300 to $350 a stick, or from a coveted stash in one of London’s emporiums. The differences between current Cuban Montecristos and those made before 1959 are dramatic. For one, the […]

Host Guide: Smoker’s Triumvirate: Showstoppers

  C.A.O. L’Anniversaire Box-Pressed Tubos Cigars that come packaged in tubes are typically round, and square-cornered, box-pressed cigars are traditionally packed in boxes. C.A.O. mixed the two, creating the world’s first box-pressed, square-tubed cigar. Our favorite is the brown-capped tube containing the 7 x 50 eXtreme, which features a Sumatra seed Ecuadoran-grown wrapper and Nicaraguan […]

Host Guide: Smoker’s Triumvirate: Tools of Preparation

Classic Elements The precision engineering demonstrated by the collections of S.T. Dupont (800.341.7003, http://www.st-dupont.com) has made the act of lighting up—be it a robusto or a Churchill—a grand experience. Moorish motifs from the south of Spain inspired the artistic Andalusia Jeroban ($3,100), a limited edition lighter featuring a spectrum of platinum, Chinese lacquer, and turquoise […]

Host Guide: Crystal Clear

Nick Goldschmidt, group winemaker for Allied Domecq worldwide properties, is a true believer in the virtues of glassware designed for specific wines. But he was not always so convinced. In a memorable tasting held in 1994, Georg Riedel, of Riedel Glas of Austria, invited eight Sonoma County winemakers, including Goldschmidt (then a winemaker for Simi […]

Host Guide: Party of Five

Great parties pose a paradox. A staggering amount of strategy, preparation, and perspiration goes into providing such ephemeral distractions. If you wish to mount a truly spectacular event that your guests will remember fondly forever, the preparations require a commitment on the level of a full-time job. It is fortunate, then, that an entire industry […]

Host Guide: Circle These Dates

We love a party. You name the event, and we will hold a party around it, whether it is a horse race (the Kentucky Derby), a historical event (Bastille Day), a good cause (charity fund-raisers), or even something as unavoidable as the passage of time (birthdays and reunions). We will celebrate anywhere, in ballrooms or […]

FrontRunners: Mallet Masters

The finest players from Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States will battle for croquet’s most coveted trophy, the MacRobertson Shield, at the World Series of Croquet (561.478.2300, http://www.croquetamerica.com), November 1 through 15 on the manicured lawns of the National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.   Perennial power Great Britain may […]

Golf: Stay and Play

With the U.S. Open planning to visit the South Course in 2008, it is not going to become any easier to secure one of the coveted tee times at Torrey Pines, a 36-hole municipal facility in La Jolla, Calif. Given these circumstances, rather than trying to reserve a round, consider booking a suite at the […]

Sport: Top Notch

It is difficult to remain focused when staying at New Zealand’s Treetops Lodge and Estate. As much as I wanted to catch trout, distractions such as a helicopter ride to White Island, an active volcano only 50 minutes by chopper from the Treetops helipad, were constantly competing for my time. A horseback journey through the […]

From the Editors: Tales of Two Pearls

Over the centuries, revolution and conquest have moved more merchandise than the enterprises of Cartier, Harry Winston, and Van Cleef & Arpels combined. The history of rare gems is often a protracted tale of bloodshed, culminating with the prize in question being swallowed, concealed behind a secret panel, or sewn into a corset in preparation […]

FrontRunners: Sizing it Up

An extra inch here or there can make an enormous difference, especially when it comes to the fit of a man’s necktie. The problem is, the average 55- to 58-inch necktie with a 3.25-inch blade is too short and narrow for the majority of tall and wide American men. Worn properly, the tip of the […]

FrontRunners: Anniversary Bouquets

Esteemed German goldsmith Wellendorff (+49.7231.284010, http://www.wellendorff.com) is celebrating its 110th anniversary in a very private way: with 60 invitation-only affairs at its premier jewelers around the globe. These special events mark the occasion by showcasing the new commemorative 110th Anniversary collection, featuring eight ring and three necklace designs, each limited to a mere 110 pieces. […]

FrontRunners: Vintage Clothing

Alexander Julian (800. 432.8713, http://www.alexanderjulian.com), the designer behind one of menswear’s best-selling brands in the 1970s and ’80s and the recipient of five Coty Awards for his expressive use of color and texture, left the fashion business more than a decade ago to concentrate on a signature line of home furnishings. This fall, however, he […]

Health & Grooming: The Barber of Naples

Standing tall in his signature Panama straw hat and toting the tools of his trade—scissors, straight-edge razor, and almond soap—Antonio Boellis cut a dapper figure on the streets of early–20th century Naples. Boellis peddled the narrow cobblestoned streets of Italy’s famous seaport “becoming a friend, a confidant, and an adviser while giving a haircut and […]

Wardrobe: Buckle Up

An elderly gentleman walked into J.W. Cooper at Florida’s Bal Harbour Shops mall recently wearing a distinctive Western-etched three-piece belt buckle set that immediately caught the attention of store owner Todd Rauchwerger. “I told him, ‘That looks like a great old Bohlin buckle,’ and he said to me, ‘Son, I bought this buckle in 1937 […]

Jewelry: Grand Allusions

For more than 50 years, Piaget has turned heads with its decadent diamond-studded jewelry watches, but it received little recognition for its jewelry designs—that is, until now. The new Magic Reflections jewelry collection captures the essence of the brand with its luxurious, imaginative, and distinctly feminine designs. To emphasize the significance of the launch of […]

Diamond Rush

In 1848, on the eve of the fall of Louis-Philippe’s regime, two representatives from Tiffany & Co. arrived in Paris for their annual buying trip. The mini-revolution was reaching its peak, and members of the royal court, mindful of what happened to their predecessors in the revolution of 1789, were preparing to flee the country. […]

Diamond Rush: Birth of a Diamond Mine

At a development cost of more than $941 million, the Diavik diamond mine stands as a unique testament to the extremes—and expense—to which producers will go to dig diamonds out of the ground. The mine site—stretched over a tiny island in Lac de Gras, 186 miles north of Yellowknife—seems to blend inconspicuously into the Arctic […]

Diamond Rush: The American Way

John Loring, Tiffany’s renowned design director and historian, is particularly proud that Tiffany is selling diamonds sourced in North America. “The first important diamond to be cut in America was the 77-carat Tiffany II in 1889,” he notes. “I like the idea that all these years later, we’re involved in pioneering the diamond industry here.” […]

Time: Revolutionary Thinking

When you don a tourbillon, you strap to your wrist what is perhaps the most inefficient, out-of-date—not to mention expensive—complicated watch available. Undoubtedly, a number of horological aficionados will bristle at such a statement because it seemingly slights watchdom’s holiest of holies: the complicated movement that is revered above all others and virtually defines high-end […]

Style: Hide and Sleek

The stench of death lingers inside a series of stone buildings that were built during the French Revolution just outside of Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat in the heart of the French countryside. Here, in this lush green valley dotted with picturesque cottages, Bastin et Frères tannery, better known as Tannerie Bastin, has converted a former military supply factory […]

Back Page: Pashas Past and Present

The most remarkable watches are often one-of-a-kind pieces, custom-made for clients of means. This is true of the original Cartier Pasha watch, which Louis Cartier created in 1931 for Thami El Glaoui, the pasha of Marrakech. The watch was an early attempt to address needs that most busy, successful modern people will recognize. El Glaoui […]

Wealth Management: Betraying Your Trust

Diamonds are forever, but not so the patriarch of a diamond house. When Harry Winston, founder of the prestigious diamond jewelry business, died in 1978, he unwittingly provoked a bitter legal struggle, first between his two sons and ultimately between one son and the trustee that the father had chosen to administer his estate. According […]

Personal Technology: The Sound and the Ferrari

Jim Bolton knows every inch of unused space in a Ferrari. “Some of the tighter cars are Ferraris,” says Bolton, the owner of Performance Sound & Security, a car audio aftermarket specialist near San Jose, Calif. “There’s barely room for a coat or a small bag.” He should know. Bolton has designed and installed some […]

True Blue Oval

On a map, Turn Eight of Laguna Seca Raceway appears to be nothing more than a simple S-bend that can be disposed of with two quick flicks of the steering wheel. But when viewed in three dimensions through a windshield, Turn Eight of the Monterey, Calif., track is something else altogether. You approach the aptly […]

True Blue Oval: Creating a Legend

It could be argued that the impending arrival of the 2005 Ford GT was guaranteed at 4 pm on June 19, 1966. If a checkered flag had not waved over the Ford GT Mark II, the new 500-hp supercar would have had no reason to exist. The site was Le Mans, where Ford, having spent […]

Revival of the Fittest

Back and forth the bidding went between the two gentlemen at the Christie’s Exceptional Motor Cars auction at Pebble Beach in August, increasing by $10,000 increments with each volley. The auctioneer delivered each bid with a shout—$400,000! $410,000! $420,000!—that was greeted with a roar of approval from the growing crowd of onlookers. The two combatants […]

Revival of the Fittest: Culling the Classics

The 1965 Maserati Quattroporte sat unnoticed by everyone at a California classic car show in 1978. Everyone except Oscar Crovetto. “Nobody knew what it was,” Crovetto recalls. “I felt sorry for this animal. I had to buy it.” Crovetto, who spent $4,800 on the car, recalls chatting with two former Maserati employees at another auto […]

Wheels: Vantage Point

On the roads of Gaydon, England, prototypes of the Aston Martin AM V8 Vantage motor around town, undergoing various tests to eliminate every existing kink. Company insiders call the stealthy two-seat sports car Project 305, an unassuming designation for a machine that promises merely to shake Aston Martin upside down and inside out, ushering the […]

FrontRunners: Water Snake

Earlier this year, a Skater 32 Race Pleasure peaked at 119 mph. However, the powerboat was not running on standard boat engines. Ilmor Engineering (734.456.3600, http://www.ilmor.com), which builds engines for the McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team, had equipped the Skater with something special. Twin models of the MV10-S, virtually the same 550-hp V-10 engine that powers […]

Aircraft: On a Wing and a Share

From his home in Newport Beach, California, it takes Drew Warmington 10 hours to drive to Lake Tahoe. He recently completed the trip in an hour and 40 minutes—traveling at an average speed of 200 mph. Warmington, who operates a financial services company, owns a fractional share of a $289,400 Cirrus SR22, a piston-powered single-engine […]

Boating: Pull of the Pacific

Don Gilman, president of Gilman Yachts, had an ample fleet of Browards, Vikings, and Hatterases on display last February at the Miami International Boat Show. However, there was one particular yacht that he was bursting to show visitors at his crowded slip: the $1.18 million Horizon 62. The new addition to his stable of yachts […]

Wings & Water: Blackbird Fly

In April 1986, following an attack on American soldiers in a Berlin disco, President Reagan ordered the bombing of Muammar Qaddafi’s terrorist camps in Libya. My duty was to fly over Libya and take photos recording the damage our F-111s had inflicted. Qaddafi had established a “line of death,” a territorial marking across the Gulf […]