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 

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