Next time you visit us, join us in our wine cellar for private wine tastings and dinners in our Castle's secret passageways. 

Paul Fogerty (Head Sommelier)

I like Port at Christmas, which I enjoy from time to time, especially white port, chilled on the rocks/in a cocktail or a lightly chilled tawny port.

So what is port?

Port is a fortified wine. This is where the wine is fermenting but, before it finishes, grape spirit is added to the fermenting juice. This increases the alcohol level and stops fermentation, preventing the yeasts in the wine from converting the remaining sugar into alcohol, which leaves you with a wine that has an alcohol level in and around 20% and a nicely balanced sweetness to it.

So what styles are there?

  • Premium/Reserve Ruby (Which has been aged longer than a standard ruby above 3 - 5 years from higher quality grapes)
  • Ruby (a blend of different years aged in large vats for up to 3 years)
  • Tawny (aged up to 3 years in 550 litre wooden ‘pipas’, large wooden casks)
  • Late Bottled Vintage Single (harvested aged 4 - 6 years in large wooden vats)
  • Vintage Port (a vintage port but not from a ‘declared vintage’ up to 2 years in large vats)
  • Colheita (harvest from a single year and aged in barrel for a minimum of 7 years)

My favourite for this Christmas will be Neipoort LBV 2017, from Mason Wines. It has all the flavours I associate with Christmas; bramble fruits, spices, cinnamon and nutmeg. The fruit is wonderfully ripe, the acidity fresh which helps balance the wine perfectly. Great to have with blue cheese or just on its own after dinner.

Louise O’Brien

The wine I have chosen for this Christmas season is Bouchard Finlayson’s 2018 Galpin Peak Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir is a personal favourite of mine as I recently spent two years at a winery in the Willamette Valley, Oregon, learning how to make it. Pinot Noir is a great example of a wine that is ‘terroir-driven’ and this wine certainly gives a sense of that from along the hillsides of Galpin Peak and the beauty of Hemel-en-Aarde (meaning heaven and earth). The Tollman Family’s flagship Pinot Noir from their winery in South Africa will make you want to gather around the Christmas table.

I have chosen this wine as it is essentially Christmas in a bottle! There is a wonderful expression of both fruit and spices - wild red berries and dark cherries with hints of espresso, cinnamon and vanilla - perfect for this time of year. The flavours and aromas are not overpowering and are well balanced with nice soft tannins. A beautiful, well-made Pinot Noir, that gives a sense of place (Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Walker Bay) and that has been hand-crafted to give a long finish that makes you want another sip!

Pinot Noir pairs well with most food. Perfect for a smoked salmon starter or any fish or cheese canapés. For mains, this can be enjoyed with beef, fish and of course the turkey and ham with all the trimmings. Just be mindful of any honeyed glazes or sweeter root vegetable dishes or sides as it doesn’t pair as well. I would suggest placing this wine on the table or on a sideboard so that it comes to room temperature naturally. Open it and let it breathe for at least one hour before serving it with your canapés or sitting down to eat. Decanting is not necessary for this pinot noir. Serve in red wine glasses or wider shaped glasses to make sure you get a nice whiff of all the fruits and spices this wine has to offer! 

Joseph Meyer


For this Christmas season, I have chosen a wine that is emblematic of my native region; Riesling from Alsace by renowned producer Trimbach.

I grew up in this beautiful wine region and I can undoubtedly say that it's popular for its white wines and Pinot Noir. Located in the East of France, it has been produced for many years. These wines are recognised throughout the world for their terroir, its nobility and for its endless vineyards. They are wines that reflect the image of the region; warm, generous, and greedy.

My choice of Riesling was without hesitation, as this noble grape variety offers a delicate bouquet; a dry and fruity character with white peach and citrus aromas. It is a nicely balanced wine, supported by a great minerality characteristic of the wines of Ribeauvillé in the heart of Alsace (located on the Wine Route, halfway between Strasbourg and Mulhouse).

This wine goes very well with noble or raw fish, shellfish, or seafood, and of course with spicy dishes. It also pairs nicely with the sweetness of the earth, for example, an onion tart (a dish that you can taste at The George V Restaurant). Described by the Alsatians as ‘one of the greatest grape varieties in the world’, it is best shared around your Christmas table with your partner, family, or friends. I suggest serving this Trimbach Riesling at 7 - 9℃ (and not directly from the fridge). Toast the season in stemmed white wine glasses and enjoy!

Nicolas Henagan

Christmas is here and what better way to celebrate, than with a bottle of bubbles. It makes any occasion even more special. The Champagne I have chosen is Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve. Christmas is all about family, and so is this Champagne; now in its sixth generation since 1818 and still independently owned and run!

The great thing about Champagne is that it's versatile. I picked this Champagne because of its style; they choose finesse over brute strength. On the nose, there is a maturity with a touch of floral freshness which expresses the aromas of fresh fruit, ripe pears and green apples. I love the candied lemon peel, nut, brioche and pastry aromas. Full and precise, and a rich bouquet which came about from its ageing in old traditional cellars. 

This Champagne will go well with an array of dishes and compliment all the elements of a traditional dinner. If you're opting for a fish dish, this champagne will make it even more festive. May I recommend adding a mushroom sauce to the Christmas feast or table to accentuate the umami hit. So, on Christmas Eve when you're filling a glass of milk to leave out for Santa, pop a bottle (or three) of Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve in the door of your fridge for the next day. Serve between 8 - 10℃, ideally. Any colder, and the Champagne will numb the taste buds.

Enrico Comarin

The wine I have chosen for this Christmas season is Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone Della Valpolicella. Specifically, 2009, which is a favourite vintage of mine.

I love Valpolicella because the steep, rolling, and sweet hills of this area are very quiet and beautiful and because it's near my home. Giuseppe Quintarelli is the most important reference point in Valpolicella because he has chosen top quality fruit since 1960 and has renowned history and following in Valpolicella and around the world for this very reason.

Why this bottle for Christmas?

It's a very generous wine; full of flavour, like ripe cherry and plum with cocoa, liquorice and vanilla. The bouquet is lovely and it is hard to keep your nose away from it. It's intense, yet complete; with remarkable persistence. It pairs well with a noble cut of your Christmas meat of choice and aged cheeses.

As you begin to put the finishing touches on your Christmas feast or add the last cracker to the table, be sure to remember to check the temperature of the Amarone; I suggest 18 - 20℃.

To enhance the power of this wine, I recommend you decant it using a traditional decanter or a large glass jug, at least one or two hours before pouring.  

Mike Harper

Mike is American and has worked in the wine industry for a decade, obtaining his Level II certification as a Sommelier before family ties pulled him to Ireland in 2019. The wine I have chosen to celebrate this festive season is Sequoia Grove (2016) Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Rutherford.

This cabernet is a solid example, at an excellent price (€125 on the wine list), of the kind of balance and richness offered by a well-crafted Napa wine. It's distinctive black cherry, mulberry and spicy blackberry aromas entice and intrigue. On the palate, this medium-bodied wine shows an elegant structure with the spectrum of rich dark fruits promised by the nose along with hints of cedar and sage while the finish lingers; like time spent with an old friend, welcome and satisfying.

It's the sort-of humble humdinger that delivers handsomely at its price and will deliver lots of cheer and merriment around your Christmas table this year. Open one to two hours before enjoying yourself with friends and family this festive season.