It’s still January. There are still 2 more Fridays in this long and dreary month !! So I therefore pat my Scottish friends on the back – what a jolly good idea to have a big party for Burns Night at the end of January, to not only celebrate the big man’s birthday, but, from a non-Scot’s point of view, to mark the end of the worst of the winter with a big feast washed down with plenty of booze (albeit Whisky). I may be ENGLISH and not have a Scottish bone in my body, but this is a celebration that I may adopt, after all, I have Scottish friends, I’ve been to Scotland (where may I add, I tasted some of the best food I’ve ever had), oh, and I like haggis (I feel the wrath of all my Scottish friends reading this 🙂 ).
I don’t however, like Whisky (nor Whiskey (for you Irish), nor Bourbon (for you Americans)). So what will I drink alongside my Burn’s Night Supper, English style? You’ve got it…wine (wrath all over again…)….
The times that I’ve been treated to a Burn’s Night Supper, the meal has kicked off with Cullen Skink a.k.a a very delicious and rich fishy stew not unlike a Chowder, just a bit smokier due to the smoked haddock. I’ll therefore be drinking a white wine with a hint of smoke and oak, cue Casa Silva’s Viognier Reserva £10.50 (10% of which has spent some time in oak) or Raphael Sallet’s Macon Uchizy ‘Clos du Ravieres’ £16.50, for you Burgundy and Chardonnay fans (it is my aim to drink more Chardonnay in 2015).
Next, comes the Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, translated as a sheep’s stomach packed full of seasoned offal, oats and suet, mashed turnips/ swede and mashed potatoes. Sounds less than appetising but no different to eating sausages in my book, and it’s a scrumptious combination of savoury herbs and gamey flavours that needs a wine to match. The aforementioned whites would work well with the haggis, or even an oxidatively aged Sherry, such as an Oloroso or Palo Cortado, but a savoury red wine with a spicy or smokey kick to it will work equally as well. I’m think dry and spicy old faithful Calmel and Joseph’s St Chinian, or perhaps if you like things a little heavier, the classic Domaine Pasquiers Cote du Rhone Villages Sablet would go down a treat.
Thanks to my customer Jon Miller for the inspiration on this one! I myself will be toasting the Haggis on Friday night as Sunday night, Burns Night, takes me to Montpellier as I seek more knowledge and tastings from Languedoc-Roussillon!