On Top Terroir we ask a different wine expert who his or her favorite wine producers currently are. In this installment, we hear from Aaron von Rock, wine director at New York City's acclaimed restaurant, Lincoln, which boasts a 400-bottle all-Italian list.
Producer: Terre Nere
Location: Sicily, Italy
This winery's Etna Rosso wines are from négociant turned winemaker Marc de Grazia, who works with Nerello Mascalese, a traditional grape from Mt. Etna. Its magic is in its tremendous aromatics — seductive red flowers, red fruit — and it's easy to understand and enjoy. It also has great transparency — you can see what the vineyard is really about in the same way that Pinot Noir does for Burgundy and Nebbiolo does for Piedmont. You can really see through it into the vineyard. I like it for it's generous quality but also for what it renders in terms of earth and spice details. Also worth noting is that De Grazia is working with some pre-phylloxera vineyards that are the highest elevated of all red wine vineyards in Europe. One of the wines is made exclusively from the pre-phylloxera vines, but single vineyard bottles and blends are also produced.
Location: Piemonte, Italy
Roagna does not change. It's a fifth-generation winery and you can really see the consistency through the years. The best example of what they're trying to accomplish is a wine called Opera Prima, a blend of Nebbiolo from between two and four vintages, using wines which are deemed to be complementary. We actually have the 17th rendition at the restaurant now, a blend of the 2000 and 2001 vintages. The 2000 is soft and easy while the 2001 is more classic, earthy, and structured.
Producer: Marco Felluga
Location: Friuli, Italy
Marco's brother Livio is more famous, but Marco makes excellent wines under his own name and also with the label Russiz Superiore. They're world-class, fun to introduce to guests, and very easy to share. He does some super Friulian blends; he has the whole spectrum. His reds are fantastic — if someone is looking for a great Merlot from Friuli, these are remarkable for the price.