The Reif family has been making wines for around a hundred years; they started in Neustadt in the Rhine Valley and now have Reif Estate Winery along the Niagara River in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Ewald Reif purchased the land in 1977 and in 1983 the winery opened their doors. The winery is housed in an 1870’s era coach house and they have one-hundred-twenty-five acres to grow their grapes. Though I do know that the next trip that I make to the wine country, I will send out letters of introduction and try to make appointments. The later in the day that we progressed, the more the hoards of tourists and wine busses showed up at all the wineries that we went to, including Reif Estate. It was almost like bellying up to the bar the last night before Prohibition went into affect. It was just too difficult to concentrate, taste and take notes.
Since we were there, we did try a couple of wines, and they were both with the Niagara River VQA, which was new to me. We tried the Reif Estate Chardonnay Reserve 2012, which was made from a slow warm fermentation in Stainless Steel, followed by aging for twenty-four months in a mix of eighty percent new French Oak and the balance in American Oak. They were proud of this vintage and suggested that it would age for seven to nine years. We also tried their Reif Estate Grand Reserve Cabernet Icewine 2013; they made their first one in 2000. This was an excellent wine with everything going for it, but it was just a mad-house and we left empty handed, which was an unusual event for us.
Actually later on in the day, after stopping at a couple of more wineries and on the way for our dinner reservation, my Bride kept thinking about the Chardonnay that we had earlier. She is really getting good at this, and thankfully the entire wine district for the Niagara area is not that big, so we made a special trip back to Reif to buy some of the Chardonnay, so for now, our record is safe.