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Alfred and his brother Rolf Merkelbach have been running their 1.9 hectare wine estate in Urzig (Mosel) for decades, and, rather than contemplate retiring, they intend to expand in the near future. Many put their contentment down to the fact that neither has married. The Urziger Würzgarten site, downstream from Zeltingen, has a striking reddish clay topsoil mixed with slate, giving particularly spicy, aromatic, weighty wines and consequently the name of the vineyard (Würzgarten = Spice Garden). The Merkelbach wines are disarmingly subtle yet redolent of flavour - bacon fat, blackcurrant leaf, briar, rose petals. Vinification is traditional, using old oak Fuder. They bought their last in 1970, and firmly believe that each cask imparts its own individual style to the wine it holds.