We may be a long way from bonnie Scotland, but it seems Burns’ Night is now celebrated far and wide.
I was even sent a recipe yesterday for beef and haggis burger, which may be another way to eat this unique dish?
Burns’ Night is officially celebrated on January 25, but I am sure there will be Burns’ suppers over the coming week.
And while the traditionalists may well insist on whisky with their haggis, I will be taking a lead from Rabbie Burns himself and serving some wine.
Haggis is of course a robust rich dish with sheep offal, oatmeal, spices and seasoning.
So, if you’re still reading, here are a few wines that can stand up to those hearty flavours.
It needs to be red. New world shiraz is good or closer to home reds from the Rhone and rioja can also work well.
Côtes du Rhône Villages Signargues 2014, M.Chapoutier (thedrinkshop.com £68.57 for six bottles) is from one of the Rhone valley’s most recognised producers and is a blend of grenache and syrah, from a very good vintage.
Black fruits, a touch of spice, liquorice and dried herbs, this is generous and well structured and would be lovely with haggis or a hearty beef bourguignon.
A couple of new world shiraz reds, which are arriving on the shelves at Lidl next week, are really worth seeking out as both are great value.
Lion’s Liar Shiraz 2013, Swartland (Lidl £5.99) is a wine I often turn to as a midweek red, but having moved onto the 2015 vintage now, its nice to see an example with a bit more bottle age available.
In South Africa this estate is called Leeuwenkuil, which literally translates to lion’s den, and this lightly-oaked wine offers bright red fruits,some white pepper, dried herbs followed by fine tannins and some nice bright acidity.
It probably nods more to the Rhone in style than many new world shirazes and it’s all the better for it.
Cimarose Shiraz 2014, Valle del Rapel (Lidl £6.99) is definitely a bit more new world in style if you want some more oomph in your glass.
There is sweet oak in the background with ripe, dark fruits and a long, almost lush finish.
It would work really well with a particularly spicy haggis served with rich gravy.
Baron de Ley Club Privado 2013, Rioja (Waitrose and Ocado £6.66 on offer from £9.99 until January 24) is quite a modern style of rioja and great value while on offer.
Made from 100 per cent tempranillo aged in American oak, there is some toasty vanilla and coconut here, along with cherry and plum fruits, followed by a smooth palate with some silky tannin. It’s not overly complex but that’s fine.
It’s very drinkable and if you don’t fancy the haggis this would work very well with a Sunday roast leg of lamb.
Alistair is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Emsworth. Call 01243 431002.