Humboldt County, California
Let’s taste the Redwoods! This wonderful ruby-colored Merlot blend really raised our eyebrows with its quality and distinction. Sourced from vineyards surrounded by Humboldt Redwoods State Park and crafted from a man who genuinely cares about what ends up inside his bottles, we’ve discovered a sophisticated mingling of upscale flavors and moderate acidity.
Owner/Winemaker Thomas Meagher has the real homegrown touch as he has dug, grafted and trellised his estate vines by hand to ensure quality: “You don’t get to disguise anything in good winemaking. If something is not of top quality, we don’t use it.”
We are excited to announce this is a 100% local estate blend from a winery that made the 2016 list of 101 Humbolt Things to Do. It is also one of the few Humbolt wineries that is in fact fully estate run, harvest to barrel to bottle and we surely cannot wait to open another bottle!
Reasons why we love it
The owners, Thomas and Rika Meagher, literally met over food and wine. Their journey to each other and creating great wine together was meant to be and their philosophy fully embraces that the company shared while drinking their wine is just as important as the wine itself. Don’t get us wrong, Riverbend acclaimed wines hold more than a little clout, you just won’t find Thomas focused on it.
“It actually feels better when someone enjoys the wine,” he said in a Times Standard article. “That’s actually more satisfying than winning awards...Sometimes we spend far too much time talking about wine and not drinking wine.” To that we say buy up and drink up! And at a whopping 58% off retail how can you resist?
In the nose, aromas of cherries and black fruit are nicely framed by toasty oak aromatics of vanilla and graham cracker with a hint of ginger and cedar spice.
After 30 years of teaching Bonsai, a Japanese art form using miniature trees, Thomas Meagher wanted a new challenge and learning experience. In the 1980's he planted test grapevines until he was finally ready to dedicate himself to a new art form: wine-making.
Hand-grafted, hand-dug, and hand-trellised, Thomas started his first commercial acre in March 1998 and named his winery after the 280 degree bend of the Eel River that hugs Riverbend Cellars. The first acre is still used today in Riverbend's field-blend Coquette, whose European style crafting emphasizes true varietal character and "sense of place" flavors from the soils, not just fruitiness.
Thomas's love and knowledge of flora began at his family's orchards and vineyards in San Benito County, where he learned about ph balances, grafting, and patience. It was also there that he learned one vital lesson:“You don’t get to disguise anything in good wine-making. If something is not of top quality, we don’t use it.”
Today, Riverbend Cellars features the 2009 silver medal winner of the Orange County Fair Commercial Wine Competitiona, a smoky northern Rhône-style Syrah with aromas of cedar and ripe plums, which linger on the palate. But the hometown favorite and Gold Medal Winner at the 2006 Humboldt County Fair is the hearty red-blend Myers Flat Firehouse Red "NV".
Riverbend Cellars is located off the Avenue of the Giants in Myer's Flat, where travelers hike through old-growth groves of Giant Redwood Sequoias, visit with Bigfoot, relax at Riverbend Cellars' tasting room and dine at their sister restaurant, the Groves Restaurant where wood-fired baked oysters and two-ways cooked duck are house specialties.
The palate is big and soft with flavors of rich black fruits and cherry pie rounded out with a touch of smoke and chocolate. This wine pairs well with lasagna (and other Italian dishes) or herb baked chicken with a garlic cream reduction.