Vol.1 No. 6 …oh, Spanish wines…

…ok, so the song was Spanish Eyes…sorry!

Tuesday we went back to St-Jean-de-Luz and had lunch at Brasserie Le Madison and at the next table was a Spanish woman who asked if she could help with our deciphering the menu board. We talked and when I told her I was working on a book on wine she told me that her family owned Cune, one of the top La Rioja producers in Haro (the Napa of La Rioja). She was fascinating and talked about during the war, Franco and the occupation of France. She is 81, eleven years older than TB. (Note, this is why we prefer to travel alone as we get to meet the locals and not get ‘wrapped up’ in ourselves. We enjoy travelling with others but our best experiences have occurred when we are alone.) Her name was Sophie Vallejo and when I told her a city in California had that name she told me she had gone there with Robert Mondavi! She was charming and wrote on my card a letter of introduction to her family’s winery, Cune, for a special tour. An interesting sidelight is that Cune is right next to Muga and years ago sold their grape juice to Muga. These are two of the most famous Rioja producers. She also recommended we visit Marquez de Riscal in Alava.

From there we went back to St-Jean-Pied-a-Port, to explore Basque wines. While not as polished as Riojas or Ribera del Dueros, they are interesting and the better ones (about 12-15€) are pretty good and very good value. The biggest is Irouleguy in St.Ettiene De Baḯgorry. The reds are made primarily from Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tannat. The better ones have more of the Tannat grape making them suitable for aging up to seven years. They also make a Cava in the traditional French manner that is excellent value and very good. To be honest, TB had not been a fan of Cava but the more he learns, the more he sees how well it is made in the traditional manner. My favorites were a 2013 Kattalingorri, a wine made without herbicides (as the Lady Bug on the label indicates). And a 2014 Mignaberry Rose that is an aperitif. The tasting room was very nice and could stand up to ones in California – no appointment needed.

The Basque Country, both Spanish and French, is beautiful…and the people are so proud of their heritage – especially those on the Spanish side (don’t say that in front of them though). It took me back to Northern Ireland…protest signs on barns and rock walls for independence, and road signs in Spanish crossed out so only the Uresqea remains. Warm, friendly people who are hardworking and funloving.

Next stop: La Rioja


©Copyright 2015 TBOW, all rights reserved.

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How did Trader Bill originate? It was conceived by me as a way of providing information summaries of global financial markets so that friends and associates could bring themselves up to speed on events and changing market conditions upon their arrival at work. In addition, it provides information on speakers and economic releases that day with consensus estimates and level of last release so that the reader is prepared to react, or knows how the market might react upon the release of information. Who is Trader Bill? Initially any reference to me was as ‘i’. This is to remove the aura of ego and to suggest that i am but a humble reporter, albeit with 35 years of investment experience. Investments are demanding of ego, however, or one would not feel that he was qualified to manage someone else’s money in the first instance. Therefore i needed an ‘alter-ego’. Like Winchell and Mahoney, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy and especially Trader Vic and Mai Tai’s! Why Trader Vic? Because he was a likeable man who delivered pleasure to his customers and knew exactly what their desires were. The reason for the alter ego became obvious once I introduced Trader Bill into my commentaries: people started asking what Trader Bill thought. They had never asked me what I thought before, but suddenly they wanted to know what TB thought! Now mind you they KNEW that I was Trader Bill but for some reason he became bigger than life. Maybe it was the small ‘I’? What does Trader Bill try to do?His goal is to educate from his years of experience. Consider that most of the traders and people managing investments weren’t even around in 1987 for the crash! Consider that Graham and Dodd, and even Warren Buffet are not relevant to them, too old hat. Their historical perceptions of markets and fundamentals (earnings, price/earnings ratios, bonds, debt service coverage) are irrelevant in this fast moving world. This is the NEW ECONOMY, or is it? How did your style originate?Years ago i found that i had a knack and talent for writing. In addition, i developed an ability to analyze market news about 15 years ago. It took the Crash of ‘87. Prior to that i was just listening to what others said about the economy. But bond yields had been soaring in ‘87 yet the stock market just kept hitting new highs. That was when i began to learn about markets. i have both a dry and witty sense of humor (some call it inane!). Therefore i attempt to make even the worst news somewhat amusing: whether it is the absurdity of an economic release, or the comments of a CEO. This is trading desk humor (or gallows humor). It isn’t politically correct but it does ease tension. Ironically, it is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (in the Navy they say: it’s always darkest before it’s pitch black!), that allows you to be more objective in your analysis, as bad as a situation is there will still be a tomorrow! You will see that i practice three-dot journalism, a style made famous by San Francisco reporter Herb Caen, whom i idolized. At least to me it is effective. What is so special about your analysis?Frankly, i don’t know that it is special, but at least it beats “the market closed down today on profit taking.” What i do know is that most of what you read is spat out without considering whether or not it is rational, like the above statement. Is it right? Sometimes yes and sometimes no, and that is the key to what is different about my analysis: it is meant to make you think. Is Dan Rather right or is Trader Bill right? If it causes you to stop and think about it, regardless of whether you agree, i win! Because THAT is my goal…not to have you think i am a guru, got that? Bet you never heard that ANYWHERE before in my business! Instead they want you to think just how smart they are but remember in this business if you are right 60% of the time you ARE a genius! Another thing that is different is when i am wrong on an analysis i will tell you, not hope you forget what i said. So now you have the tools to do what the speculators and hedge funds do: challenge authority, and if you make money it is because YOU did it not me. i was just a tool, your flunky to do the grunt work and let you decide…course you could be wrong too but at least you looked at the big picture. But the goal is also to have fun! This shouldn’t be a business of hushed tones and grim faces. It is a living, breathing thing and nowhere else in the world do you have the odds as much in your favor as here. Just beware of the guy who wants to put his arm around you and tell you he is your friend. So there you have it. I hope you select me as one of your sources for market information. If you do I promise to work my best for your financial success. Trader Bill

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