What wine to drink on Burns Night

"Go fetch to me a pint o' wine," From My Bonie Mary, by Robert Burns

On Friday 25th January many will celebrate the life and poetry of Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns, and seeing as the man himself was famously enthralled by a drop of good vino, we thought it prudent to recommend some lovely wine to enjoy with your haggis.

Although traditionally associated with a good Scottish ale or a glass of whisky, there are a plethora of good wines that have the capacity to match well with haggis, even if you are perhaps sacrificing authenticity and committing Scottish heresy on Burns Night by doing so.

Given the richness and strong flavours associated with this traditionally Scottish savoury pudding, we would implore you to choose an equally heartening, full-bodied red wine, although the rugged nature of this meal means you needn’t break the bank on your plonk.

A new world Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz are usually fruity enough to counterpoint the gamey richness of a Burns Night centrepiece but in truth, and contrary to popular belief, haggis is a versatile canvas for wine matches.

If you are looking for a classical Old World red to bring to the table, then a peppery claret from the Rhône or a quaffable Tempranillo from Spain will certainly add to any meal on Friday night.

Whatever you decide, don’t let the pomp and ceremony of Burns Night deter you from choosing wine instead of Whisky or ale, because the Ploughman Poet was a big fan himself…

The dinner being over, the claret they ply,
And every new cork is a new spring of joy;
In the bands of old friendship and kindred so set,
And the bands grew the tighter the more they were wet.”
From ‘The Whistle', by Robert Burns. 
George Wyndham Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia 2006

Vibrant red with purple hues and a bouquet of sweet vibrant fruit, this full-bodied wine has a peppery nose, combined with black cherries. The blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon provides a softly rounded mid palate, with stylish tannins and a subtle spiciness.

Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Made from 30-year-old vines on the original Kleine Zalze Farm and with minimum intervention from the winemaker, this wine is pure and full, packed with blackcurrant, cassis and warm savoury flavours that you will relish on a wintery Burns Night.

Crozes Hermitage 2011, La Tuilière, Jean-Luc Colombo

The hand-harvested Syrah grapes in this wine leave lasting and bountiful notes of red-berry fruits, blackcurrants and baking spice. There is a lasting velveteen smoothness on the palate that will accompany your traditional sheep’s pluck.

St Joseph, Roquebrussane 2007

Made from the smallest, most concentrated Syrah grapes in the northern Rhône, this wine is rich, lush and full of crunchy blackberry and raspberry fruit plus a lovely sweet liquorice and spice character – it’s a real treat particularly in this hostile weather!

Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2012

A chunky red wine that has a rich and tobacco flavoured texture that will marry delectably with flavoursome and gamey meat such as haggis.

Don Jacobo Rioja Gran Reserva 1998, Bodegas Corral

A classic Tempranillo only produced in the finest vintages, this silky, smooth Rioja with superb complexity and luscious fruit flavours is a real winner with rich meats. Acclaimed in 2012 by UK Wine Sommeliers, this wine is well worth its £16.99 price-tag. 
Main Image: Robert Burns by Alexander Nasmyth oil on canvas, circa 1821-1822 (1787) at the National Portrait Gallery

Written by: Ben Moss

Ben Moss 


BBQ Spatchcock Piri-Piri Chicken

Summer has come to a close and autumn is well and truly on its way. Blustering winds, cooler temperatures and swiftly shortening days mean it will soon be time to wrap up warm and to make the most of the wonderful autumn produce on offer. Time to say goodbye to those fresh, summer whites and replace them with the warmer, more robust reds frequently associated with colder temperatures.

What to drink with Fish Pie?

Fish Pie is a quintessentially British recipe. Easy to make and absolutely delicious, it is also a great dinner party dish - with a limited amount of last minute preparations needed it’s a winner in my book! However, where do you start when matching a fish pie with wine?

Five Ways to Open a Bottle of Wine Without a Corkscrew

For that moment when you find yourself without a corkscrew and unable to open that bottle of wine; here are five ways to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew. Obviously, if you do have a corkscrew to hand, it is a lot easier to go down the more traditional route…


Wines to drink at Easter

Easter usually marks the beginning of spring and the point at which some wine drinkers veer from rich and wintry reds to lighter and slightly more delicate wines. Yet for some, the Easter weekend is likely to culminate in a family ... read more


What wine to drink with Sunday Lunch

Sunday lunch is a rite of passage for the English. It is a meal and an occasion that we can collectively claim to have nailed. A momentary window amid our busy week set aside for communal revelry in family, friendship and food. The ... read more


Christmas Wine Guide

All your Christmas wine requirements are hopefully covered here, from which bottles to buy as presents, to wine gift vouchers, the best port and dessert wines and what wine to serve with your Christmas turkey on the big day itself… read more


Burgundian Winemaker crosses Channel to run Marathon in aid of the RNLI

A leading French winemaker who spends his days nestled among the beautiful rolling vineyards of rural Burgundy is not the first person you’d expect to pledge support for such a quintessentially British charity as the Royal National ... read more


What wine to drink with pancakes on Shrove Tuesday?

Shrove Tuesday precedes Ash Wednesday in the Christian Calendar and traditionally it is heralded as a day of feasting before a period of fasting. Some give up chocolate, others alcohol (gulp!) but regardless of your efforts, rarely are ... read more


New study claims Red wine prevents cholesterol build up from meat

A Sunday roast just isn’t the same without a lovely glass of red wine and now it appears a cheeky sup of claret will actually diminish the unhealthy effects of eating red meat.  read more


New study claims red wine drinkers earn more

Red wine drinkers earn more and are generally happier, while white wine lovers are more practical according to a new social study commissioned by French Wines with Style.  read more


Merlot Wine Guide

The diversity and easy-drinking style of Merlot has made it one of the world’s most popular varietals, with this black grape - which made its first appearance on the Right Bank of the Dordogne in the early eighteenth century - proving ... read more


Chardonnay Food Match: Pasta with Garlic Ham in cream sauce

The wide variety of Chardonnay styles makes it a hugely versatile wine for food matching but in this instance and paired with pasta in a creamy sauce we suggest a full-bodied oaky New World Chardonnay. An Italian classic, this easy ... read more


Evidence suggests red wine contains cancer healing qualities

Moderate red wine consumption has long been attributed to boasting health benefits such as a strong heart and nutritious bones, and researchers now suggest a cheeky daily glass of claret contains a chemical compound capable of preventing ... read more


Cabernet Sauvignon Food Match: Steak With Blue Cheese Recipe

Cabernet Sauvignon wines are notoriously hearty and rich, boasting sturdy tannins with heavy texture and therefore they need a suitably powerful culinary match such as a rare steak, covered in blue cheese… read more


Sauvignon Blanc Wine Guide

Sauvignon Blanc is responsible for some of the world’s most popular, distinctive and dry white wines such as Sancerre and Pouilly- Fumé in France, and a plethora of superb Sauvignon Blancs from the New World, particularly in New Zealand. ... read more


What’s Hot in the World of Wine: Argentinian Malbec & Christmas drinking

After a fleeting hiatus our fortnightly instalment of What’s Hot in the World of Wine returns with an almighty bang as this week we run the rule over the Telegraph’s focus on Argentinian Malbec, The Sunday Times examines a few festive ... read more


Syrah/Shiraz Food Match: Lamb's liver with bacon and onions

Food matching with Syrah/Shiraz depends hugely on the style of wine so we would urge a little caution and common-sense when endeavouring to partner this noble black grape variety with your culinary feast of choice. In this instance we ... read more


Syrah/Shiraz Wine Guide

Often championed as the noblest black grape varietal, Syrah/Shiraz perpetually produces some of the finest red wines in the world and ones capable of ageing superbly over a period of decades. As one of France’s most ancient varieties, ... read more


Pinot Noir food match: Roasted vegetables recipe

This great winter warmer recipe for roasted vegetables is easy, hassle-free and more pertinently a perfect food match with Pinot Noir wine. It’s a versatile dish delicious on its own or paired with anything from roast chicken to fish, or ... read more


Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Guide

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most widely grown red wine grape varieties in the world, thriving as it does in a diverse range of global climates and producing some of the greatest and most varied wines. Prior to the 1990s when Merlot ... read more


Pinot Noir Wine Guide

Wines made from Pinot Noir are amongst the most popular and widely championed by critics and consumers alike, yet this tantalisingly romantic grape is also one of the most temperamental varieties in the world. Here is a little bit of ... read more


Beautiful Tea and Alcohol ink portraits by Carne Griffiths

A British artist has come up with a novel way of creating beautiful portraits by using vodka, whiskey, brandy and tea as his primary medium. Carne Griffiths’ drawings focus “on the creation and manipulation of the drawn line” but does so ... read more


BevShots: The beautiful photographs of alcohol

A research scientist from Florida State University named Michael Davidson has shone a new light on alcoholic beverages by photographing cocktails through a microscopic lens. The results are breathtakingly beautiful. read more

Post a comment...