Drink: Wine, whisky and beer to handle all that spicy haggis

Every Burns night, I try to remind everyone that haggis is a versatile beast and can be matched with certain wines and beers – and not just whisky. If you prefer whisky, try to choose one with sweetish notes, with spicy toffee caramel flavours and some sherry oak notes and not too much smoky peatiness. My preference would be a Highland single malt, rather than a very smoky Islay malt.

I prefer wine with my haggis. The fattiness and spiciness of our famed dish needs a wine with plenty of acidity, an earthy sweet character and a piquant sharpness. You could celebrate Burns with a crisp Cava fizz or a still sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, white Cotes du Rhone or even a spicy Alsace gewurztraminer. For reds, head for softly fruity herby Languedoc or southern Rhone reds which have good acidity and terroir notes or earthy resonant Italian-based nebbiolo or juicy barbera reds. Just experiment away.

For beer lovers, head for something deep, dark and dangerous. High alcohol beers such as Innis & Gunn, Orkney Dark Island or Skull Splitter are very suitable for such a spicy dish.

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Whisky

GLENFARCLAS 15 YEAR OLD

(44.50, www.royalmilewhiskies.com)

Very fragrant aromatic malt with a rich creamy dense palate and a spicy raisiny sweetness to match the sweet earthy tones of haggis. This current offer includes miniatures of 21 and 25 yr olds.

TALISKER 15 YEAR OLD

(39.99, Waitrose)

Pungent and peaty, but with a rich sweet sultana flavour and heathery dryness from Skye's only distillery.

Wine

MAYCAS DEL LIMARI RESERVA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2007

(8.99, Tesco; Sainsbury; Co-op; Oddbins)

A wonderful combination of juicy sharp green fruits and vibrant acidity made by Concha y Toro in the Chile's exciting northerly Limari valley.

CUVEE DES OLIVIERS 2007 Massamier La Mignarde

(6.99, Luvians, Cupar/St Andrews, 01334 477752; Berry Bros & Rudd, www.bbr.com)

Beautifully smooth, with adequate juicy acidity; this succulent vin de pays from Coteaux de Peyriac is superb value.

FAUGERES TRADITION 2006 Clos Fantine

(9.99, Caves de Pyrene, www.lescaves.co.uk, 01483 554750)

There is something feral and intense about this Languedoc red which makes it an interesting match with haggis. Its tart juiciness and gamey, herby flavours cut through the spicy greasy nature of the dish.

VALLANA SPANNA 2004 Colline Novaresi

(11.49, Berry Bros & Rudd; Luvians)

Spanna is a local name for nebbiolo in this obscure part of north west Italy: spicy, dried fruit and black fruit succulence.

Beer

INNIS & GUNN 'RUM CASK'

(1.99 for 33 cl, Waitrose)

Sweet treacley undertones, high (7.4 per cent) alcohol and refreshing grip make this an intriguing haggis match.

• This article was first published in The Scotsman on 23 January, 2010