Four Pillars : a small Australian distillery

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Four Pillars is a small Australian distillery based in the Yarra Valley producing bespoke and most importantly, delicious gins that are slowly but surely gaining the limelight they deserve.

First to join our back bar last year was Four Pillars ‘Rare Dry Gin’ with its lovely citrus forward botanicals served with tonic and an orange garnish – it’s fantastically refreshing.

We are now very happy to say that we can offer you another of their amazing gins as this week we’ve added Four Pillars ‘Navy Strength’ to our list. At 58.8% abv this is a gin not for the faint hearted, packed with citrus, Asian spices and uniquely – finger limes [sure to put hairs on your chest!]

Some of us were lucky enough to attend a Four Pillars master class recently in Edinburgh at the Bon Vivant’s Companion hosted by Stuart Gregor of Four Pillars. During the class we were able to try, taste and compare the Rare Dry, Navy Strength, Barrel aged sipping gin and their new ‘Bloody Shiraz Gin’ an Australian twist on a sloe gin, which will be coming to the UK later this year.

All of us at riverstation love these gins and are proud to stock them. The Navy Strength is a lovely Australian addition to our mainly European gin collection and certainly compliments our passion for premium Australian wine.

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July’s wine of the month: Artemis Karamolegos Assyrtiko 2014

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This month we bring to you a gem from the Greek Aegean island of Santorini, Artemis Karamolegos, Assyrtiko. Greek wine has been seeing a revival of late so we are very excited to be showcasing such a fantastic example of a dry white from the Greek Isles.

This wine is made from Assyrtiko (a grape native to Santorini) which grows on bush vines traditional to Greek wine production in volcanic soil. Artemis Karamolegos is a family run vineyard with a history dating back to 1952 when their grandfather began growing grapes to produce wine for his family. Now run by his grandson it is one of the most modern and well-acclaimed vineyards on the island.

True to the volcanic soils it has been grown in this wine is full of saline minerality with a lovely sharp citrus freshness and a delicate soft finish. It is Perfect with our starter of severn + wye hot smoked salmon, quail egg, wasabi mayo, apple + toasted brioche.

Cà dei Frati ‘I Frati’ Lungana: May Wine of the Month

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This month we bring you a full bodied yet refreshing white from the shores of Lake Garda in northern Italy. I ‘Frati’ made from Turbiana a grape native to the region and is packed full of complex flavour ( and surprisingly it has also seen no oak.)

Cà dei Frati is a family run winery established in 1939 and is now in the trusted hands of siblings Igino, Franco and Anna Maria Dal Cero, who continue to drive the family business with a determined passion to make some of Italy’s best wine.

Grown on low yielding vines on glacial soils off the shore of Lake Garda, the cool air off the lake and warm summer days help to create a wine with excellent fresh acidity and deep aroma.

On the nose you can expect aromas of ripe lemons, peaches and a light floral note. On the pallate this wine has a superb rich depth balance by a crisp acidity and would go perfectly with our new Cornish Turbot dish, served with fennel purée, dill crushed potatoes, crab beignet + orange. Delicious!

A visit from a Barry Bro: April’s Wine of the Month

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This month we would like to introduce you to ‘The Barry Bros’ by Jim Barry of the Clare Valley, which is a contemporary take on an Aussie classic blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Three generations of the Barry family’s expertise have gone into establishing the winery and Jim Barry’s pioneering drive has indeed helped to shape the Clare Valley as a benchmark in the production of Riesling in South Australia.

However, a Riesling is not what we bring you this month but instead a superb and contemporary Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon with juicy red fruits balanced by earthy, savoury notes. This wine is the creation of Sam and Tom, who are 3rd generation Barry brothers. The brothers have taken their two favourite grape varieties, Shiraz and Cabernet, their family’s history and a determination to make their own individual impression to create this wine.

Last month we were fortunate enough to have Sam and his sister Olivia, who is an ambassador for the winery, come and talk us through a selection of their fabulous wines. As always we like all our staff to be well informed on what we do, so that you can be rest assured that we know what we are talking about. Come see us this month so you can try a glass for yourselves.

A trip to Penzance courtesy of Wing of St Mawes

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A couple of weeks ago some of the riverstation chefs took a little trip to Penzance courtesy of Wing of St Mawes, one of our wonderful suppliers. Their morning started in the wee hours with a visit to Newlyn fish market to meet Rob Wing. Wing Fish not only sustain a lot of our fish stock, but that of many leading restaurants.

Here, amongst the mornings freshly caught fish, they learnt about the preparation, storage and quality checks in place. This was followed by a visit to the national Lobster hatchery in Padstow, where they learnt how they were rearing Lobsters to be released back into the wild.

It is hugely important to all of us at riverstation that our staff have plenty of chances to learn more about all areas of what we do. We believe a greater knowledge of how the food and drink we serve is made, grown or caught, means that we are able to provide you with the best experience possible.

March wine of the month: Kleinood – Tamboerskloof Syrah 2012

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Throughout March we would like to offer you the opportunity to sample a very fine and different wine from South Africa – Tamboerskloof Syrah. This Syrah hails from the Kleinood Farm, which is a boutique winery that specialises in the production of Syrah, Viognier and olive oil. In fact, they only make four wines – including a Viognier, Rosé, Syrah and the John Spicer Reserve Syrah.

Kleinood Farm is a family run vineyard located in the Blaauwklippen Valley, just outside Stellenbosch, which is often considered the premier red wine region in the Cape. Kleinood is an Afrikanns word with origins in Dutch and German meaning small and precious, a clear indication of the philosophy integral to the careful holistic approach to the production of their wines.

From this 2012 Syrah expect a lovely, subtly balanced palate with juicy red berry aromas. This wine has both a lovely fresh acidity and a soft delicate spice, with distinctive brambleberry notes. This wine is perfect to enjoy on its own but bold enough to stand up to food so please do come and try a glass – you won’t be disappointed.

Vasse Felix Chardonnay ; New wave Aussie Chardonnay at its best

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With a New Year upon us, we would like to help you form a new opinion on premium Australian Chardonnay. A popular opinion (especially in this country) would have you believe that the Aussies ruined Chardonnay with notions of too much oak and poor quality in the 90’s + 00’s – we’d like to take this opportunity to prove that opinion obsolete.

This month we’re introducing you to a fantastically complex, well-balanced and indeed oaked Chardonnay from Vasse Felix in Margaret River, Western Australia. Margaret River is WA’s premier wine region and benefits from a climate similar to the Mediterranean with cool sea breezes that help to build the unique layered characteristics of this Chardonnay.

Initial notes of white peach can be expected on the nose with a deeper, more complex savoury background of hazelnuts and delicate citrus. On the pallete expect a wonderful balance of natural acidity and zesty lemon that seamlessly blends with hazelnut and vanilla.

It’s clear to see that the nine months that this excellent Chardonnay spends on French oak creates a delicious savoury, biscuity texture that finishes the wine off superbly.

Come and brighten up a grey January day with us at riverstation with a glass of this not to be missed Australian wine of the month.

P.S. We will be pouring a host of Australian wines by the glass in the last week of January to help celebrate Australia Day – we hope you can join us!

By the glass for November : Celler Cal Pla Priorat

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With the festive season creeping closer, we would like to share the superb Cal Pla Tinto Priorat with you, truly the perfect Spanish accompaniment to a leafy autumnal day.

Cal Pla is from the Priorat region near Tarragona, south of Barcelona – a region with typically lower yielding vineyards producing premium wines. This fantastically good value Priorat is a classic blend of Garnacha, Cariñena and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cal Pla Tinto is grown by Joan Sangenis on high altitude steep vineyards in grey slate and red clay soils giving the wine great minerality. All crops at Celler Cal Pla are manually harvested from vines averaging 50 years and the entire process sees no chemicals.

With these growing conditions, the grapes are made to work in order to survive giving a great depth in flavour which is then given plenty of time for development -13 months is spent in oak barrels before bottling.

From this wine you can expect a rich and spiced nose with notes of plums, damsons and white pepper. Furthermore, you’ll notice a lot less of a vanilla flavour compared to Rioja – Spain’s best known red, though it by no means falls short on complexity and flavour.

Nautilus Estate of Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011

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Allow us to introduce October’s delicious wine of the month, a Marlborough Pinot Noir from Nautilus Estate, perfect for the autumnal evenings that are quickly setting in. This Pinot Noir is an example of wine maker, Clive Jones’ aim to craft fantastic food friendly wine and should not be missed.

Nautilus Estate takes utmost care when producing their wines, which helps to maintain their reputation as one of the best producers of Pinot Noir in the region. Recently the winery has invested in a small ‘gravity flow’ winery, a process that takes the fruit from vine to bottle with delicate care to make the most of each grape.

We can highly recommend this Pinot Noir with our roast duck, potato cake, cavolo nero and blackberry dish. The complex, layered flavours created by blending grapes from five sites allow this wine to stand happily alongside food. Wonderful fragrant notes of wild raspberry and morello cherry give way to a fantastically silky smooth and lengthy finish.

‘The Southwest Secret’ cocktail

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We’re very proud to be a part of Bristol’s thriving restaurant scene. Having been at our waterside location for over 17 years, we’ve seen the city blossom into its current vibrant self, with a broad range of establishments offering a great selection of food and wine. But Bristol has another side that’s really come into its own over the past decade. A flourish of high end cocktail bars, followed by the recent surge in craft beers bars and small boutique coffee shops has cemented Bristol’s reputation as a certified foodie destination. Not ones to miss the boat on such developments, we’ve also been hard at work, quietly crafting some delicious cocktails and honing our beer and spirits selection into a range that we’re really proud to shout about.

Drawing on the same values that we believe make our food so special – sourcing seasonal, inventive ingredients from local independent producers – we’ve got a cocktail list that we hope offers something to everyone, whether you’re after a pre-dinner aperitif, or whiling away an afternoon on our sun soaked terrace. It’s any bartenders dream to have access to the range of produce that riverstation’s kitchen holds, alongside the wealth of knowledge and skills held by our chefs.  By utilising this great resource,  and by changing our cocktail menu seasonally, we aim to keep things exciting for customers and bar staff alike.

This summer has been no different, and one of our favourite cocktails on riverstation’s current list is ‘The Southwest Secret’ – a local twist on a classic gin cocktail. Combining the lighter floral notes of Thornbury’s 6 O’Clock gin with Somerset’s very own Cider Brandy (plus Cointreau, lemon juice, a dash of egg white and our house-made grenadine) – it’s a twist on one of gin’s great cocktails, ‘The White Lady’. Originally, adding an apple spirit (traditionally Calvados) and grenadine, gave you ‘The Pink Lady’ (or ‘The Secret Cocktail’ to those who thought ordering a Pink Lady wasn’t quite macho enough!). Here at riverstation we’ve brought things a little closer to home with our choice of apple spirit,  and created ‘The Southwest Secret’. Like all of the classic ‘sour’ drinks, it strikes a wonderful balance between the strength of the spirits, the sweetness of the liqueur and the sharp bite of the lemon juice. The egg white holdings everything together and creates a light foamy texture, while the grenadine aides the drink by providing both colour and an extra level of complexity to the flavour.

Come of down to waterside bar+kitchen before we have to wave the summer goodbye and try this little treat for yourself… or if you have a different tipple of choice, you can also see the rest of our cocktail list here.