‘I didn’t realise how much I was craving connection until I saw my friends for the first time in months’
‘I didn’t realise how much I was craving connection until I saw my friends for...

Edaein OConnell

The setting sprays to try to extend your make-up no matter the weather
The setting sprays to try to extend your make-up no matter the weather

Holly O'Neill

8 brilliant new books that are perfect summer reads
8 brilliant new books that are perfect summer reads

Jennifer McShane

House designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí available to rent on Airbnb for one night
House designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí available to rent on Airbnb for one night

Sarah Finnan

Memorial tributes to be created to honour Princess Diana’s 60th birthday
Memorial tributes to be created to honour Princess Diana’s 60th birthday

Jennifer McShane

Annie Dunne of A.D. Event design shares her tips for planning a small wedding
Annie Dunne of A.D. Event design shares her tips for planning a small wedding

Megan Burns

Pelvic pain: ‘There wasn’t a single Irish doctor who treated me with any level of empathy or respect’
Pelvic pain: ‘There wasn’t a single Irish doctor who treated me with any level of...

Jennifer McShane

The new beauty products to know this week
The new beauty products to know this week

Holly O'Neill

This stone farmhouse in Kilkenny has been carefully restored to create a bright, calming space
This stone farmhouse in Kilkenny has been carefully restored to create a bright, calming space

Nathalie Marquez Courtney

The best outdoor lights to make the most of summer evenings (no electrician needed)
The best outdoor lights to make the most of summer evenings (no electrician needed)

Megan Burns

Image / Living

Ashford Castle’s sommelier recommends Christmas Day wine pairings


by Megan Burns
23rd Dec 2020
blank

Paul Fogerty, head sommelier at Ashford Castle, gives us the lowdown on whether Chardonnay goes with turkey and if Rosé Champagne tastes as good as it looks.


With so much preparation going into the Christmas Day meal, the wine choices can often be an afterthought. For those of us who don’t know anything about wine, we can end up just buying a wine we’ve had before, or one that’s on offer, not knowing whether it’s actually a good match or not.

Luckily for us, Paul Fogerty, head sommelier at Ashford Castle has shared his tips for choosing wine for Christmas Day for us, and he’s not just recommending expensive bottles. He’s sticking to grape varieties, so you can choose something that fits within your own budget.

Apertifs

Paul says it wouldn’t be a celebration without Champagne, and Christmas is certainly an occasion to pop some bubbles. For something different, he recommends Rosé Champagne, as “it really opens up the taste buds in readiness for all the delicious food to follow”. He particularly likes Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé, with notes of red berry fruits.

Turkey dinner

If you’re opting for the traditional turkey feast, Paul has recommended both a red and a white wine, so choose whichever you prefer. For red wine drinkers, he likes a Burgundy Pinot Noir, and a favourite is Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, with dark cherry notes.

A full-bodied Chardonnay is Paul’s white wine choice. “Chardonnay is an exceptional accompaniment to turkey and is delicious with side dishes such as bread sauce,” says Paul.

“Choose a wine with good complexity and an oaky richness, which will really help to bring out the flavours of the meat. If in doubt, speak to your local wine merchant or off licence and they’ll be happy to help you pick out something special for Christmas Day.”

Seafood

There is always fresh lobster, crab and other seafood on offer at Ashford Castle at Christmas, so Paul has chosen some of his favourite pairings for these. With smoked salmon he likes a lightly oaked aged Chardonnay, Champagne with oysters, and for dishes like prawn cocktail, a dry Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.

Beef

Many people prefer beef to the traditional turkey, and Paul advises that you don’t necessarily need a big red wine to bring out the flavours of the beef. He would pair it with a Bordeaux Cabernet Sauvignon, a silky Italian Barolo, or a full- bodied Malbec.

Vegetarian

Executive head chef at Ashford Castle Philippe Farineau and his team have developed special vegetarian and vegan festive menus, with options such as beetroot, carrot and date galette and French truffle and potato risotto.

Paul recommends a Beaujolais Cru such as Morgon with earthy and mushroom dishes. For warm, tomato-based dishes, Paul recommends Chianti.

Dessert

To go with dessert, Paul loves Beaumes de Venise – a golden Muscat, as well as Moscato D’Asti, a lower alcohol, sweet sparkling white wine with a lovely light finish.

Cheese

Paul likes to pair port with a cheeseboard, and says that a Vintage Port like Neipoort goes particularly well with strong cheeses such as Cashel Blue or Stilton. “What can you say about this beautiful wine, but that it’s full, rich and packed with plums, berries showing ripeness and on the finish, subtle nuances of cinnamon and nutmeg,” says Paul.

New Year’s Eve

Even if your gathering is small this New Year’s Eve, it’s no reason not to pop open the Champagne. Paul’s recommendation is Perrier Jouët – Grand Brut.

He also points out that there are many fabulous alternatives to Champagne, including any Crémant from the Alsace region. “In Ireland, Crémant seems to be the lesser known of the sparkling varieties of wine,” says Paul, “but it’s probably my favourite.” Crémant is similar to Champagne in terms of how it is made, but it’s less effervescent and usually, not as expensive.

Prosecco is also a popular alternative to Champagne and Paul suggests popping a Prosecco Valdobbiadene, Santa Margherita, Italy. Paul is also a big fan of some of the wonderful wines from Cava, Spain so when it comes to bubbles, there are plenty of options, and price points, from which to choose.


Read more: Outdoor gifts to buy this Christmas for al fresco socialising in 2021

Read more: Coollattin House is probably Ireland’s largest home, and it’s currently on the market for €975,000

Read more: 5 underrated festive albums that belong on those Christmas playlists

Also Read

Kilfane Glebe
PROPERTY
This idyllic Georgian home in Kilkenny with artist’s studio and stone cottage is on the market for €1.3 million

The new owner of this home will have a true rural retreat, with large rooms, walled gardens, and a variety of outbuildings.

By Megan Burns

dog-friendly holidays Ireland
TRAVEL
Dog-friendly holidays in Ireland: from Bangor to Wicklow

Bring the pooch with you on your vacay with one...

By Marlene Wessels

blank
FOOD & DRINK
What to eat tonight: Lemony baked whole sea bream

This delicious whole fish dish makes a big statement but...

By IMAGE

empowering movies
CULTURE
25 empowering movies that’ll make you proud to be a woman

It seems only fitting that we’d give a shout-out to...

By Geraldine Carton

Love Island 2021
CULTURE
The ‘Love Island’ 2021 cast has been revealed

‘Love Island’ will return to TV screens across Ireland and...

By Sarah Finnan

DIY campervan conversion Ireland
TRAVEL
DIY Campervan conversion Ireland: Things you should know before you start (from someone who has just done it)

Considering taking on a DIY campervan conversion in Ireland for...

By Lauren Heskin

blank
CULTURE
This is why everyone’s talking about Jedward right now

By Jennifer McShane