We have been yearning to feature a wine from Canada for a very long time and were thrilled when we had the opportunity to feature one of the best. The Reif Family boasts 13 generations of winemaking in Germany going back to the 17th century. They were one of the first to plant vinifera grapes in Canada in the 1970s premiering their first vintage in 1982.
Their rise has been legendary including being awarded Canadian Winery of the Year in 2017. Canada has never been thought of as a wine making country as it is too far North for the grapes to ripen. But there is this sliver of land on the Niagara River which allows warming influences from the US to help ripen the grapes. As a result, wineries from this area are making superb offerings, especially Icewine.
Icewine is the most expensive wine to produce in the world. It entails picking the grapes in the dead of winter, like even December, where they are actually frozen but there is still the sun shining in sub-freezing weather to keep the grapes alive. They are very carefully crushed so that the first thing to emerge is ice crystals. They are discarded and what's left is fermented. This is what accounts for its dizzying complexity and extracts.
Of course, what better grape could a German family show off than Riesling? It reaches its pinnacle here offering the telltale peach and apricot flavors matched with a long, bright finish. Classic German knockwurst or a veal schnitzel would be sublime.