Daily Archives: April 13, 2010

Good write ups on value wines from France and Italy from Beppi Crosariol

I am a big fan of the wine writing of Beppi Crosariol in the Globe and Mail. He writes well about all sorts of wine, from the rare and expensive to the everyday lowcost wines. In this article, A rare value chardonnay from Burgundy – The Globe and Mail, he writes about a

“terrific Burgundy value was just released … in Ontario… Louis Jadot Macon Villages 2007 ($14.95, product No. 164145) (it) will reach a few other provinces before the year is out. (It’s) medium-bodied, it’s clean and crisp, with a moderately silky texture and notes of tangy lemon and chalky minerality. The toasty, vanilla-like influence from oak-barrel aging is subtle and nicely integrated into the fruit. It could match nicely with a lot of light, vegetarian fare but would probably be best paired with chicken, veal or salmon. For the money, it should make connoisseurs just as happy as bargain-hunters.

It just makes you want to serve up some roast chicken and have a glass.

As for reds, he notes two of my favorite Italian reds….

“Ready for a killer red bargain? It’s name is Citra Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2008 ($7.45, No. 446633). Familiar to bargain hunters and Italian-wedding caterers across Canada, the Citra brand from Italy did wonders with this wine from the 2008 vintage. Ultra smooth and remarkably concentrated for a wine of its price, it delivers a ripe, almost voluptuous cherry core and nice balancing acidity. Very versatile and nice on it’s own.

Returning to full inventory after a brisk sales run is another great Italian value that I’ve mentioned before, Spinelli Malbec (discounted by 50 cents to $7.45 until April 25, No. 143750). Full-bodied, succulent and smooth, it offers up juicy berry flavours and a hint of mulled-wine spice.”

Spinelli has a number of great, low cost red wines at the LCBO. They are Farnese are worth a try.

Finally, in this article he talk about Guigal from France and Côtes-du-Rhône wines. Guigal’s Côtes-du-Rhône is consistently good and well worth it, although I find many of the Côtes-du-Rhônes at the LCBO are good to very good. Now that BBQ season is coming upon us, you might want to search for them, starting with Guigal’s.

Greed threatens microloans, and snarky writing at the NYTimes.com detracts from that

While this is a really good article in some ways, Big Banks Draw Big Profits From Microloans to Poor – NYTimes.com, it is so snarky that it detracts from the reporting. For example:

“In recent years, the idea of giving small loans to poor people became the darling of the development world….”

or

“Actors like Natalie Portman and Michael Douglas lent their boldface names to the cause”

finally

“The fracas over preserving the field’s saintly aura “

It’s really simple. Microloans work well when they enable people to borrow very small amounts of money at a reasonable rate in order to kick start their business or help them deal with other financial needs that they could not have satisfied through other means. Microloans are not meant to be “trendy” or “saintly”, any more than lines of credit or personal credit cards are. Now they that have been shown to be profitable, the crooks and loan sharks are moving in. As the economist who started it says very well:

“We created microcredit to fight the loan sharks; we didn’t create microcredit to encourage new loan sharks…Microcredit should be seen as an opportunity to help people get out of poverty in a business way, but not as an opportunity to make money out of poor people.”

I think it is a testament to the strength of microfinancing that the greedy are getting involved. But while testament is fine in a limited way, what is really needed is better governance of the lenders to restrict them from ripping off people who have little money. That’s what’s needed. What isn’t needed is snark on the subject matter from Neil MacFarquhar of the NYTimes.com.

Tim Geithner steps up

I hope Americans read this opinion piece by Timothy Geithner in the Washington Post:  How to prevent America’s next financial crisis. And once they read it, I hope they will call their representatives in Washington and urge them to support this reform.  I can say this even as a Canadian, because what affects Americans this way affects the rest of the world as well. We are looking for Americans to take the lead here and get a grip on the Weapons of Financial Mass Destruction, as Warren Buffett once referred to derivatives (PDF link).