2016 Weingut Merkelbach, Riesling Spatlese #8, Urziger Wurzgarten, Mosel Germany.
The wonderfully textured and classically pure, the pre-sample of Merkelbach’s 2016 Urziger Wurzgarten Spatlese #8 is slimmer and lithe version of this historic vineyard with loads of spice, sweet fruit, mineral and smooth, but zesty acidity that makes for a lovely wine that feels incredibly well balanced and a bit drier than it is. This iron rich and red slate vineyard in the middle Mosel is a glorious site, one of the most unique terroirs in the world, it produces very sexy Riesling with surprising aromas of dark flowers, mixed spices, Asian tea, flinty/shale and exotic tropical essences, with the 2016 Merkelbach showing a slightly more subtle tone and with a more earthy element adding complexity and gives focus to the sweetness. This sample of 2016 Merkelbach certainly impresses, and I must thank Terry Theise for pushing me in this wine’s direction, he’s been singing their praises in recent vintages, this is a winery on the rise and they offer solid quality for the money in a traditional styled wine and these are Rieslings that will age fantastically well. The palate is creamy with yellow peach, lemon/lime, green apple, apricot, pineapple and honeyed verbena as well as that liquid steely mineral and earthy spice edginess. Lingering jasmine, white lavender/rose, green melon flesh and tangerine add to the pleasure in this Spatlese, which is not overt or flamboyant like Loosen, Prum or even Christoffel versions, but with grace and charm in league with Schaefer and Selbach. Imported by Skurnik Wines and Terry Theise, Merkelbach’s 2016’s should be shipping by the end of this summer and they should be on your radar, especially this intriguing Urziger Wurzgarten Spatlese #8, drink from 2019 to 2034.
($26 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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