The Campbell family’s ancestor arrived from Glasgow in search of gold and never left
If you don’t fancy drinking whisky with your Burns celebration, here are a few appropriately-named wines to serve with the haggis or cranachan – or just to raise your glass to Scottish poets, prospectors and pioneers.
What better place to start than with the man himself? Bobbie Burns was the name given by Scottish immigrant, John Campbell to his favourite gold mine in Rutherglen, north east Victoria in Australia. Having made his fortune he turned to growing grapes on his favourite seam; his ancestors still use the same name on their labels for their most powerful red. Try Bobbie Burns Durif 2009 (£13.50, The Wine Society, www.thewinesociety.com): a savoury, chunky, mouthfilling red made from the little known petite sirah grape – a good match for the meaty haggis.
Named after the bard’s 1783 famous poem The Banks O’Doon (‘Ye Flowery Banks o’bonnie Doon’), the Bonny Doon area of Santa Cruz in California was actually named by Scot John Burns (no relation). He came to Santa Cruz in 1852 post-gold rush to set up a timber mill and established Bonny Doon’s first vineyard. Today Bonny Doon winery is run by the very colourful and quirky winemaker Randall Grahm, who is a self-styled Californian Rhone Ranger. He makes very fine, now rather pricey, wines from Rhone grapes. Bonny Doon Le Pousseur Syrah 2008 (£23-£27, St Andrews Wine Co, www.standrewswinecompany.com; Calistoga, Edinburgh, www.sidewayswines.co.uk; The Secret Cellar, www.thesecretcellar.co.uk; www.fieldandfawcett.co.uk).
Not so long ago the South African ward of Elgin was better known for its apples, now it is one of South Africa’s most exciting areas for both white and red wines. Iona is run by Andrew Gunn, a first generation Scot who comes from the Sutherland clan in Wick. One of Elgin’s best known wine estates, Iona has been making very decent sauvignon blancs for more than a decade. After a disappointing interlude trying merlot, Iona is back with great syrah and pinot noir. Try cool classic Iona Syrah 2007 (£15, Exel Wines, www.exelwines.co.uk).
This exciting new Cape venture near Cape Aguilhas, just 8km from the sea was named after the Ben Lomond mountains which run through the vineyards. Wayne Gabb used to be an apple and pear grower, but he now has his sights on fruits of the vine, if he can overcome the local ostrich invasions and find enough water. Most impressive is his liquorice, damson, velvet smooth Lomond Syrah. Alternatively try Lomond Merlot 2009 (£9.22, www.sawinesonline.co.uk) with a meaty note and ample acidity to match with the haggis.
The name of a town in east Ayrshire, the Logans make wine in Orange in New South Wales – Australia’s third coldest region after Tasmania and Tumbarumba. Once known for its apples and cherries, it is proving interesting for minerally whites. Logan produces a big range of varietals, but my all-time Logan favourite is his chardonnay grown at 930 metres. Try the steely grip and mountain freshness of Logan Orange Chardonnay 2011 (£14.99, Lockett Bros, N Berwick, www.lockettbros.co.uk; St Andrews Wine Co, www.standrewswinecompany.com).
A newcomer to the UK, this small Tasmanian winery in Pipers Brook is best known for its pinot noir. Winemaker Peter Caldwell trained with Heemskerk and Josef Chromy, and is now working for the Hill-Smiths who own this 11 hectare estate. Their standard Dalrymple Pinot Noir 2011 (£29.40, Free Run Juice, www.freerunjuice.co.uk) is a cool, pure, restrained example of this fickle grape; they also make two premium pinot noirs from their best blocks.
This one was named after a forest just south of Inverness by founder Dave Powell who once worked there as a lumberjack. Powell left Torbreck a few months ago, so it will be interesting to see how this winery performs without him. He plans to set up a new venture in the Barossa – so watch this space for Torbreck mark 2. He made Torbreck into one of Barossa Valley’s best – with a great reputation for its Aussie take on syrah and grenache. For meaty, peppery, grippy Aussie shiraz try Woodcutters Shiraz 2012 (£17, Raeburn Wines, Edinburgh; Wines Direct, www.winesdirect.co.uk).
The charming Campbell family, now in their fourth generation, live in Rutherglen up in remote north east Victoria. Their ancestor arrived here from Glasgow in search of gold and never left. Blisteringly hot, it’s perfect for making the famous liqueur fortified muscats, which are delicious with cranachan or served as an alternative to a fireside whisky. Try luscious, raisiny, fortified Campbells Rutherglen Muscat (£11.49 hf bt, Waitrose).
Duncan McRae was sheep farmer in South Australia’s Clare Valley. He sold his 70 acre farm to winegrower Jim Barry in the mid 1960s, who thought it had potential for making good shiraz. He was right. The McRae Wood Shiraz 2008 (£29.99, Waitrose) is one of my favourite examples of Clare shiraz with its great fleshy fruit character and immense purity.
This South African wine estate takes its name from the Scottish-style stone walls in the Elgin region. The cool climate of the highland Elgin area is proving ideal for chardonnay, pinot noir and some very pure dry riesling and viognier dessert wine. Try this limey, minerally Lothian Vineyards Dry Riesling 2012 (£9.75, Oddbins) as an aperitif.
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