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Reading Between the Wines: wines that address the haggis

This time last year, I gave some tips on single malt whisky to coincide with Burns night.

Glaetzer 'Wallace' Shiraz Grenache 2012

That advice still stands should you wish to look it up. However, as much as I love whisky I don't usually have it with my meal, so this year, I'd like to offer some suggestions for what to drink alongside your Burns supper.

Ah haggis, that delectable yet misunderstood delicacy. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that as well as being misunderstood, it is also much-maligned. Yes, it's a 'hearty' and 'traditional' foodstuff (if you like haggis, but don't know what goes into it, it's probably best not to ask), but not worthy of alarmism and derision like, for example, the blanket import ban it enjoys in the US.

Good haggis has a wonderfully unique and delightful set of flavours and textures, and needs good, flavoursome wine to match up to it. Only wines with plenty of fruit, acidity and body can match up to the rich texture and spicy oiliness of the haggis - we're talking big wines. Some might advise Californian Zinfandel or Chilean Carmenere, but I'd go further, and suggest some of the bigger reds wines Australia has to offer.

A great match could be found in Katnook Founder's Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (£11.99, Waitrose), a brilliant example of Coonawara cabernet. This region produces wonderfully complex cabernet, that mixes typical dark fruit with chocolate and savoury spice. Cabernet from Coonawara can often age very nicely and doesn't usually drink incredibly well young (as in 1-2 years old), but fortunately this wine is pretty showy even after just a few years in the bottle.

I have added the next wine both for its qualities as a Burns supper food match, but also because of its happily appropriate name: Glaetzer 'Wallace' Shiraz Grenache 2012 (£19, Oddbins). A big beast of a wine from Barossa, the home of Australia's trademark - 'blockbuster' Shiraz. It has a lovely dark complexity, showing spicy blackberry, nice earthy cherry, and rounding off a velvety, voluptuous finish. I'm sure Rabbie would approve, for more than one reason.

As a wildcard for those of you less taken by the idea of wine from a foreign land, you could always opt for a top-end Scottish beer! I'd go for something nice and rich, and avoid anything too bitter or hoppy. Barney's Red Rye (£2.30, Hippo Beers) is a great wee beer from a relatively new microbrewery in Edinburgh. It's fruity and malty, and has the right balance of deep caramel and zingier dried citrus to contend with the great chieftain o' the pudding race!

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