IT'S time to iron your kilt, dust off gran's recipe for haggis and set Braveheart to continuously play, folks, because Burns Night is around the corner. And with it, the annual question of what drink to pair with all those complex flavours.

Now, before swords are drawn, I know whisky is the first choice for most but trust me, a good strong syrah from the Northern Rhone or Barossa Valley will do the trick as well. If it makes you feel better, a wee dram at the end is the perfect way to close the meal.

While I'm risking upsetting traditional chefs the length and breadth of the land, I find the flavours very similar to a traditional Cumberland Sausage, with strong, often gamey flavours tempered really well with spice, so the heady warm syrahs are the ideal pairing.

Syrah, by the way, is also known as Shiraz, it just depends on where you are in the world, but the grape is the same, the key difference being the effects of the climate and the winemaker.

Anyway, here’s a couple of suggestions that I guarantee will pay fitting tribute to all that sheep stuff as it crosses your palate.

M&S Classics No.37 Barossa Valley Shiraz

Marks and Sparks have chosen really well here although you have to be a plonker to make a bad shiraz in this valley. Ripe, warming blackcurrants, spicy plums and a soft hint of cocoa on the finish. I love this wine.

Marks & Spencer £9.50

Glenallachie 11 year old Pedro Ximinez Finish

Wow, what a whisky but then again, PX is the richest of all the sherries, so its going to have a cracking impact on a decent malt. Fruit and dark chocolate on the nose with layers of fruit cake, treacle and molasses on the palate. Almost a meal in itself.

Robert Graham Ltd £64.50