David Schildknecht, representing the importer Vintner Select (regional representative for Marc de Grazia Selections) was in town today for a morning trade tasting of wines - mostly Italian, most of those from De Grazia) at the huge Party Source store in Louisville's suburbs.

Here's a quick dump of my Palm Pilot notes:

Le Terraze Donna Giulia Brut ($17) - Pale gold. Yeasty, prickly, fresh apples. Fizzy, tart green apples.

La Cadalora 1998 Santa Margherita Alto Adige Pinot Grigio ($14) - Very pale gold. Luscious melon scent with a whiff of mint. Full white fruit, a hint of banana. Pleasant bitterness in the finish.

Palazzone 1998 Grechetto Umbria igt ($10) - Clear bright brass color. Floral and fresh, herbs - David says "cilantro" - crisp and full, zingy acidity in the finish.

La Rocca 1998 Langhe ($20) - Clear straw. Oaky vanillins dominant. Sweet oak and floral nuances.

I Campetti 1998 Rosato ($9) - Sangiovese and Marema, Toscana. Very pale salmon color. Faint berry scent. Fresh, crisp; tasty berry fruit.

Casale 1996 Daviddi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano ($22) - Clear ruby. Appetizing cherry-pie aromas. Full and juicy fruit, delicious.

Podere Il Palazzino 1997 Chianti Classico ($18) - Dark ruby with an orange glint. Black cherry with an appealing earthy barnyard note. A load of fruit but not a "fruit bomb" - fine structure and balance.

Monte Bernardi 1995 Chianti Classico ($30) - Very dark ruby. Aromatic notes of orange peel, odd but pleasant. Black fruit and tart acid. "Correct" but lacks personality. I'll take the Palazzino, thanks.

Altos las Hormigas 1999 Mendoza (Argentina) Malbec ($10) - Inky dark reddish-purple. Ripe fruit and a load of oak. Big fruit and sweet oak, simple and in-your-face. The one non-Italian wine in the tasting.

Filomusi Guelfi 1997 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo ($13) - Blackish-purple. Intense black raisin scent. Much more interesting than the nose suggests - big but almost lean, mineral and plummy but not overripe.

Mazzi 1997 Valpolicella "Poiega" ($18) - David says it's a ripasso, although the label doesn't. Slightly hazy ruby, smoky red-fruit aromas. Juicy ripe tart-cherry flavor, bright acidity for perfect balance.

Rivetti "La Spinetta" 1998 Barbera d'Asti "Ca' di Pian" ($16) - Hazy dark ruby. Tar and barnyard and ripe black fruit. Big, tart and tannic, minerals and fruit. Food wine, wonderful with a bite of Parmigiano Reggiano.

Parusso 1998 Dolcetto d'Alba "Piani Noce" ($14) - Dark garnet. Sweet dried-tobacco aroma. Crisp and tart, juicy blueberry fruit.

Rocca Albino 1998 Dolcetto d'Alba "Vignalunga" ($14) - Very dark purple. Jammy berries, tar and smoke. Bright fruit flavors, mixed berries, hints of mineral and chocolate.

Francesco Boschis 1998 Dolcetto di Dogliani "Vigna dei Prey" ($15) - Very dark reddish-purple. Berry fruit and brooding minerals. Full, complex and appealing, blueberries on a framework of lean acidity.

Sottimano 1998 Barbera d'Alba "Paiolero" ($18) - Opaque blackish-purple. Black cherries and plums, grilled meat and fennel, very appealing. Flavors consistent, big and fresh, bound up with lemon-squirt acidity. Excellent wine.

Piaggia 1995 Carmignano Riserva ($25) - Very dark ruby. Sulfury nose and palate interferes, but the old penny trick takes care of that. Still very earthy, though, barnyardy and green. Big, tart and tannic.

Piaggia 1996 Carmignano Riserva ($25) - Opaque blackish-purple. Beautiful black fruit, cassis and cedar, almost Bordeaux-like. Big and juicy black-cherry fruit well balanced by lemon-squirt acidity. Excellent!

In addition to Vintner Select (of Cincinnati), other U.S. distributors for Marc de Grazia Selections include Classic Wine Imports (Boston), Estate Wines (San Rafael, Calif.), Michael Skurnik (Syosset, N.Y.) and Vin DiVino (Chicago).

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All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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