Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten Auslese 2020
The brothers Merkelbach make mosel riesling that’s old school in the best way: Hand-crafted from small plots with extraordinary care. Like a Savile Row suit, this wine is subtle but luxurious. Visiting Alfred and Rolf Merkelbach at their home in Ürzig is like travelling into the past. Well into their seventies, Alfred & Rolf still tend the vines and make the wines with little help: heading into the steep Würzgarten and Treppchen to tie the posts, harvest, and then even racking off the large fuders they use for fermentation and blending. The vineyard holdings of this tiny, 1.9 hectare estate are divided between the Ürziger Würzgarten, Erdener Treppchen, and Kinheimer Rosengarten. Wine cultivation is ancient on these sites, lying just off the Mosel between Ürzig and Erden is the excavation of a Roman press house. When most of the Ürziger Würzgarten vineyards were replanted during the re-alignment of the vineyards (called “Flurbereinigung”), Merkelbach’s vines remained on original rootstock, with an average vine age of 45 years. The Merkelbachs are firm believers in tradition, and while changes in climate and style preferences have pushed up must weights and produced profoundly riper wines, the brothers craft wines of a style more typical to an era long forgotten. Kabinetten are still refreshing, Spätlesen taste like Spätlesen, and oechsle levels rarely exceed the Pradikät range. The Merkelbachs vinify each parcel separately, each fuder representing a different parcel. Because of their tiny cellar, their pradikät wines will never be a blend of any more than 2 parcels together, indicated by the fuder numbers on the label’s AP code. "This stunning wine combines the lightness of Kabinett with the subtle deepness of an Auslese, all this delivered with this joyful sense of airiness which has made the success of the Estate over the decades. Should this particular wine not be available in your neck of the world, worry not: The whole collection is a single resounding success!"