BEING English, I thought until recently that Burns night was part of a first aid course being held at the church hall. Apparently though, it’s a bit of a party that Scottish people (and people who want to be Scottish) have on or around January 25, to celebrate the birthday of poet Robert Burns.

The highlight of the Burns supper is the entrance of the haggis, a giant sausage which is traditionally paired with a wee dram or two. If you aren’t too much of a traditionalist, like my mate Dave who phoned last night to ask what wine to have with the “Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!”, you could try one of the following reds. Of course the same wines will match with hearty stews, sausages or roasts.

M&S has La Sabrosita Old Vine Garnacha 2007 on offer until the end of the month at an affordable £4.39. This rustic, powerful and structured red hails from north east Spain, the Calatayud wine region to be precise. Made entirely from garnacha, the Spanish name for grenache, it punches above its weight with blackberry and raspberry fruit flavours, that finish with a spicy, hot peppery kick and a hint of bonfire smoke.

I suspect Quinta Dos Roques tinto 2005 is more frequently served with wild boar or kid goat in its native Portugal, but it will match up to the haggis too. From the Dão region in the centre of the country, it’s a gutsy blend of indigenous varietals, including the magnificent touriga nacional grape. The result is a concentrated but approachable wine, that is alive with flavours of blueberry, cassis, chocolate and vanilla pod, held together by round tannins.

The day after Burns night will see our cousins Down Under celebrating also. January 26 is a public holiday in Oz, the imaginatively named Australia Day. Coincidentally a good Aussie shiraz will match nicely with haggis.

Someone with very good taste bought me a bottle of Paxton Quandong Farm Shiraz 2007 for Christmas and I was impressed by its subtle charms. From the McLaren Vale region, it’s not overbearingly powerful, nor too heavy with alcohol. More in the Rhône style and produced by bio-dynamic means, it’s earthy and beautifully balanced, with plum and berry fruit, spicy notes and fine tannins. It will be even better after a few years’ careful cellaring.

•La Sabrosita Old Vine Garnacha 2007, £4.39 down from £5.49 at M&S 18/20

•Quinta Dos Roques Tinto 2005, £10 at Field and Fawcett in York 18/20

•Paxton Quandong Farm Shiraz 2007, £9.60 at Field and Fawcett in York 18/20