The most poignant thing about a Merkelbach wine is the innocence with which it arrives. It has no agenda, it doesn’t care to impress you; it has no ego, and it really has no affect you can discern. Even when a given wine is full of energy, it shows up placid and unguarded. The wines are napped in silence and calm, though individual wines may be precise and articulate. . It makes me think of footsteps in newly fallen snow, where no feet have stepped before you. They are unique among all the wines I know, and this signifies much more than my opinion of any particular one of them.
These will very likely be the last ‘21s I taste from Mosel producers whom I represented. My hesitancy about the vintage is established by now, and I wonder how these will be. Last night I opened a bottle of 2005 Würzgarten Spätlese; it looked all of 2-3 years old (in a vintage with a lot of premox) and tasted like a dream of Riesling Eden.
To refresh your memories, the estate is being operated by Selbach now – vineyards and cellar both – and Johannes is careful to maintain the Merkelbach style, which entails doing things quite differently than they’re done in his own estate. That choice is pragmatic and sensible, but not only; It is also neighborly, even affectionate, and most certainly respectful. In any case it stirs me, just as Rolf and Alfred Merkelbach’s wines have always stirred me.
Each of the wines in this flight of eight underwent an evolution in the glass, and I often felt as though I had arrived in a different country from the one I set off from. Rather than alter my notes though, I’m leaving them as they were, because these transits are salient; any discussion of the wines is denuded without them.