Octogenarian brothers Alfred and Rolf Merkelbach have been running their two-hectare Mosel estate since they were young men and, rather than contemplate retirement, their eyes are set on expansion. Many put their contentment down to the fact that neither has married. Their Urzinger Würzgarten site, downstream from Zeltingen, has a striking reddish clay and slate topsoil, producing particularly spicy, aromatic, weighty wines – hence the vineyard’s name, which literally translates as “Urzig spice garden”. The brothers use traditional old oak Fuder for vinification. They bought their last in 1970 and firmly believe that each cask imparts its own individual style to the wine it holds. The Merkelbach wines are disarmingly subtle, yet redolent of a plethora of flavours: bacon fat, blackcurrant leaf, briar and rose petals, to name but a few.