Haggis pairs best with a wide variety of red wines such as a Northern Rhone Syrah, Beaujolais Cru, Australian Shiraz, Ribera del Duero and Zinfandel. Peppery and smoky red wines complement the crumbly meat dish, while fruity red wines contrast the savoury flavours.
Haggis is an infamous Scottish dish where a sheep stomach is stuffed with minced sheep heart, liver and other organs. The crumbly meat is then bulked out with oatmeal, onions, suet and seasoning. While the description of Haggis doesn’t sound appealing, if you love savoury and spicy sausage, you’ll enjoy Haggis.
Where to Buy Haggis?
If you are looking for authentic Haggis in North America and have no Scottish friends (whose grandparents can recommend an excellent spot to get it), do a search for Scottish specialty restaurants in your area. If you live in a small town, you might have to visit a nearby city. Many butchers or delis may also have Haggis on their menus that you can reheat at home.
Another fantastic time to enjoy Haggis is on Robert Burns day (which falls on January 25th). Robert Burns is a Scottish and Northern Ireland tradition where the poet Robert Burns is celebrated. You’ll often enjoy Haggis as part of a 3 course meal that might include other Scottish staples such as smoked fish pie, neeps and tatties (potatoes and turnips), cock-a-leekie soup, and Clootie Dumpling or Typsy Laird (Sherry Trifle) as dessert. Many pubs in small towns will often have Haggis as a special on Robert Burns day, and if not, you can always call them an enquire.
Best Wine with Haggis
|Liquor||Scotch Single Malt||Haggis||
|Red Wine||Beaujolais Cru||Haggis||
|Red Wine||Syrah, Northern Rhône||Haggis||
|Red Wine||Ribera del Duero, Red||Haggis||
|Red Wine||Chateauneuf du Pape||Haggis||
|Red Wine||Spatburgunder||Haggis, Vegitarian||
|Beer||British Brown Ale||Haggis||
|Red Wine||Saint-Émilion AOC||Haggis||
|Red Wine||Grenache Shiraz Merlot (GSM)||Haggis||
Northern Rhône Syrah & Haggis Pairing
A Northern Rhône Syrah complements Haggis as it serves up notes of black pepper, smoke, bacon, meat, spice, earth, and herbs that jive with the meaty, spicy, herbal and gamey flavours of Haggis. With medium tannin and acidity, Syrah is balanced enough to hold up the meaty heft of Haggis, as well as contrast it with velvety flavours of blackberry, raspberry, blueberry and plum. Syrah also keeps things interesting with notes of green olive, eucalyptus, baking spices and rosemary.
If you know you don’t enjoy the flavours of Haggis all that much, and would rather reduce its notable Scottish flavour, an Australian Shiraz will be much more up your alley. Shiraz differs from Syrah in that it comes across less herbal and meaty and focuses more on the fruit and peppery sensations. The strong emphasis on red and black fruit will help mask the gamey and earthy, and mineral notes of Haggis.
Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape, and both share many of the same flavours, however, Shiraz is much more of a crowd pleaser in that the fruit flavours and sensations of chocolate and vanilla are the star of the show.
Beaujolais Cru & Haggis Pairing
If you want to enjoy Haggis in all its earthy liver and organ meat gamey glory, that a light, fruit-driven red win such as Beaujolais Cru is the ideal red wine for you. Beaujolais Cru is a more complex version of Beaujolais that features juicy flavours of raspberry, strawberry, cherries and blackberries. The Cru addition to the name means the winemakers have picked the very best grapes and delivered something that is unique to their terroir. In many cases, Beaujolais Cru can rival some of the finest Burgundies, yet at a 10th of the cost.
I’d recommend an earthier Beaujolais Cru such as a Cote de Brouilly or Morgon, so there’s more of a complementary nature to the pairing. However, the trouble with Beaujolais Cru in North America is that it doesn’t stay on shelves long, so you might have to buy your Beaujolais months in advance if you plan on having Haggis on Robert Burns day. No matter what the style of Beaujolais Cru you pick up, you’re bound to find something that is refreshing, elegant and fruity to showcase the savoury flavours of your Haggis.
If no Beaujolais Cru is available, a Beaujolais Villages will work in a pinch and deliver a delicious Haggis and wine pairing experience.
Gran Reserva Ribera del Duero & Haggis Pairing
Ribera del Duero is a Tempranillo based red wine from Spain that has been aged for a few years and is loud, full-bodied and velvety. Ready to drink right out of the bottle a Gran Reserva Ribera del Duero showcases silky notes of blackberry, black cherry, blueberry, strawberry and plum. You’ll also find velvety notes of dark chocolate, mocha and vanilla that intertwine beautifully with the organ meat of your Haggis.
Gran Reserva Ribera del Duero also showcases flavours of meat, wild game, earth, herbs, leather, smoke and cedar that complement the meaty, earthy, gamey, and spicy flavours of your Haggis. Thus, you get an amazing balance of contrasting and complementing flavours with Ribera del Duero.
Gran Reserva Ribera del Duero will be pricy, so you can always scale down to a Reserva Ribera del Duero, which is just as delicious but not as complex. Crianza Ribera del Duero, on the other hand, has only seen a year of oak ageing, and will mostly come across as lively and fruity, with very few earthy and meaty flavours. Crianza Ribera del Duero will pair up just fine with Haggis, but it won’t knock it out of the park like a Gran Reserva Ribera del Duero.
Suppose you are only sampling Haggis and never intending to eat it again. In that case, I’d go with a Crianza Ribera del Duero as it’s relatively inexpensive and offers enough bright flavours to mask the gamey and liver notes of Haggis that not everyone appreciates.
Zinfandel & Haggis Pairing
A jammy Zinfandel from California is my favourite pairing with Haggis as I love how the smoky and peppery flavours of Zinfandel merge with the meaty and spicy flavours of Haggis. I also enjoy how the juicy notes of blackberry, plum, raspberry, strawberry and cherry cover up the gamey and livery flavours of Haggis. While I don’t mind tasting some liver or game notes, I don’t want to have it dominate my palate either, and thus Zinfandel offers a pleasant foil to this predicament.
When choosing a Zinfandel, you could go with an Aged Zinfandel that is full-bodied with high alcohol or a medium-bodied Zinfandel. Either option can work, as Haggis is flavourful enough to hold up to a bold Zinfandel. Meanwhile, a medium-bodied Zinfandel won’t be bossed around by a plate of Haggis either. Bold Zinfandel will be expensive, and offer more complex flavours such as vanilla, chocolate, tar, coffee, herbs, roses and licorice. If this is the type of thrill you are seeking, and you don’t mind tasting less of your Haggis (plus you can justify the price), I say go for it!
Viognier & Haggis Pairing
Not everyone is a red wine drinker, and I totally get that. You should drink whatever you like best. If you’re after a white wine that will go nice with Haggis, Viognier is my number one pick. Viognier has a silky, viscous and luscious body that complements the savoury flavours of Haggis. Medium in weight, Viognier won’t crush the herbal, nutty, gamey and peppery flavours of Haggis, nor will Viognier be crushed by the meaty and earthy notes.
Viognier also offers a refreshing contrast to the gamey, earthy and meaty flavours of Haggis. With Viognier, expect luscious flavours of apricot, honeysuckle, orange rind, peach, pear and tropical fruit to keep you refreshed in between bites. You’ll also find notes of mineral, almond and nutmeg that complement the nutty and earthy flavours of Haggis.