“I love to eat and I love to drink and I love to do both together,” opens The Wine Dine Dictionary: a truly brilliant book from The Telegraph’s resident wine expert, Victoria Moore. Words that speak to our hearts. Said newspaper might be a publication we’d imagine to be read in the most part by those considering themselves wine buffs anyway, so it goes without saying that Moore knows her stuff. But luckily the wonderful Wine Dine Dictionary is a book for all levels of wine “expert” – whether you love nothing better than a cut-price supermarket rosé or regularly splash out on collectible vintages.

After a useful intro breaking down what flavour actually means and explaining the language of wine – aka, the notes-tannins-terms-blah-blah generally used by wine experts, The Wine Dine Dictionary moves on to doing exactly what it says on the tin. An A-Z of food, then an A-Z of wine – what could be more pleasing. From antipasti, asparagus and avocado to wasabi, watercress and wiener schnitzel, Moore covers pretty much every dish and ingredient you could think of – plus the wines that will work best with them. On the other hand, if you’ve a fantastic Cab Sav of chilled bottle of Gavi waiting to be imbibed, you’d better turn to the next section, detailing the foods that make those wondrous wines really sing. If you love eating or drinking – or both – The Wine Dine Dictionary will quickly become absolutely indispensable.

Word to the wise: it’s also a gift that will be appreciated by just about everyone. And we’re delighted that Victoria Moore has not only written and published our new favourite book – but has also answered every question about wine (and food) you might ever have wondered about…

I’m having friends round for dinner – do I start with choosing my bottle of wine or what I’m cooking?

Both ways are great. Sometimes there’s a wine I really feel like drinking – at this time of year it might be Sancerre or a bouncy Chilean pinot noir – and I pick food to go with it. At others I know what I want to cook and choose a wine to suit.

Is a house wine ever the right choice?

There are lots of myths in circulation about house wines in restaurants. The truth is that the wine list is as good as the person who’s putting it together. Some places work really hard to make sure the house wine is brilliant – it’s their flagship. Others see it as a way to flog cheap rubbish. There’s no hard and fast rule.

Which wines are best drunk on their own – sans food?

I’d turn this round and say that nearly all wines are great without food, but a very tannic wine can taste better with a big juicy steak, and food can rescue some cheaper wines to make them look more expensive. For instance, a dusty cheapo claret tastes magically better with a lamb chop.

I fancy a glass of wine with some nibbles, but not a whole meal. What’s a good pre-dinner choice?

Albariño + crab toasts is a huge favourite. Mix the crabmeat with a spoonful of mayo, a squeeze of lemon, and chopped basil or coriander.

Getting married – what wines should I choose?

Pick a red that’s quite fruity and not too oaky, tannic or acidic. Reds based on grenache (garnacha in Spain) are good. My brother recently got married and we picked Domaine de Montval Syrah from Majestic. I’d always be careful about syrah because it can be quite spiky but this one worked really well. For whites I usually go for crowd pleasers like picpoul, sauvignon blanc or an inexpensive white burgundy.

The waiter asks me to test the wine. Swirl and sniff aside, what should I ACTUALLY be doing?

Looking for faults – is the wine corked (if so it might smell of damp cardboard and not as fruity as it ought); or oxidised (the colour is a good indicator of that on a white – it will be darker and more orangey than normal)?

A quick bite and a glass of wine – what are good, quick choices?

​​● Nigel Slater’s Grilled Lemongrass Chicken (the recipe is in Real Fast Food) + grüner veltliner
​​● Pasta-pesto + Gavi
​​● Avo on toast + Marlborough sauvignon blanc
​​● Roast chicken + chardonnay (please tell me I’m not the only one who makes this for one just because it only takes three minutes to throw the chicken and potatoes into the roasting tin)
​​● Spaghetti with spiced sausage & fennel sauce + a glass of Chianti (recipe in Diana Henry’s Simple if you need one)
​​● Goat’s cheese salad + Sancerre

Good wines for dessert – that aren’t dessert wines?

You could try a dry oloroso sherry, which tastes of roasted nuts and dried fruit. Or perhaps a PX sherry, which is incredibly sweet and tastes of molasses. I love that poured over vanilla ice cream. Strictly speaking sherry is a fortified rather than a dessert wine so I think I get round the rule with that one.

Favourite wine + food pairings?

​​​​ ​​● Riesling + pork
​​● Brunello di Montalcino + roast rib of beef
​​● Côtes du Rhône + butterflied leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic
​​● Fino sherry + jamón ibérico de bellota
​​● Champagne + crisps
​​● Albariño + crab (yes, I know I’ve mentioned it already but I LOVE it)