As we’re sure you’re all aware, today is our favourite national holiday of the year (that’s right May Day; drop the Morris Dancers and then we’ll talk), it’s Burns Night! Kilts, pipers, odes to meat dishes, whisky bearers and mountains of complex carbohydrates; as far as festivities go, very few things are missing. Perhaps sunlight but this is Scotland we’re talking about after all.
This evening many of us will be sitting around, reciting a poetic address to haggis; the great chieftain of the sausage race! But this of course raises a burning question, “what do I drink with my piping hot haggis?” The obvious answer is Scotch whisky and we feel almost like Jamie Oliver; making something called ‘Punchy Jerk Rice,’ by suggesting anything else! However, we’re not all Don Draper able to sip on single malt through the course of an entire evening. Many of us, who have not been hardened by a career in a 50s New York ad-agency, would prefer something a little easier drinking. Wishing to quash any suggestion that at Oddbins we’re food match despots, these are our top haggis pairings, for when the whisky toasts have passed!
A nice contrast to what can be quite a heavy dish. The fresh, fruitiness of the hops lifts the palate and plays against the spicy richness of the dish. Try the American IPA - Bosko from North London based brewers Pressure Drop.
Given the extended link between Bordeaux and the UK, it is perhaps no surprise a nice bottle of Claret is often found on the Burns Night table; full-bodied, spicy and fairly savoury Clos La Gaffeliere St Emilion Grand Cru harmonises well with the depth of this meal.
A little more off the wall suggestion, Aglianico is typically from the south of France, very full-bodied, incredibly powerful and complex it is absolutely a match for the intensity of flavours in Haggis but we also like the racy acidity so often found in this grape that can cut through the fattiness of the Haggis. Check out Pipoli Aglianico del Vulture!
Particularly blends that have higher proportions of Syrah in them as they tend to have a spiciness to them that complements the meat. We recommend Famille Perrin Cairanne; this blend of Syrah and Grenache has wonderful aromatic intensity of spices and dried fruit.
The concern you may have with pairing Haggis with white wine is that it simply may not stand up to such rich flavours on the plate. There are no such concerns with Gewürztraminer, this incredibly aromatic variety has all the spicy floral notes to happily play off haggis. The Lechburg Gewurztraminer is a wonderful pick, particularly if you are preparing a veggie haggis, as this wine is itself vegan friendly!
It’s a celebration after all! However, Champagne does actually work well, some pairings work because of similarities in the wine and dish, this match works because of contrasts. The bright acidity, lively palate and freshness of the wine offsets the density of this meal. We Recommend Henri Harlin NV.