Drink - Victoria Moore buys £20 bottles of wine

My new resolution is always to drink £20 wine. How am I going to pay for it? Asks Victoria Moore

Heaven knows where Angus got the bottle of Chateau Senejac, Cru Bourgeois, Haut Medoc 1992 that he presented my boyfriend with for Christmas, but I do wish he hadn't given it to him. It ended up costing me a fortune. Two days after unwrapping it we visited my parents. Mum had cooked a rib of beef, an unauthorised purchase by dad from the butcher in Bedale where he goes to buy game pies. The beef was spectacular; earthy and tender and full of flavour. I realised that Angus's wine would be delicious with it. As indeed it was, the savoury restraint of the claret and its easeful masculine perfume causing us all to relapse into respectful silence. It was then that I realised I spend far too much money on cheap wine.

The next week, walking home from work on a particularly fretful, damp evening, I called into my local wine merchant. Courtesy of another recent resolution (never to eat ready-made meals), I had a small joint of gammon in my bag and intended to buy a bottle of Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2000 Henri de Villamont (£8.95), a delicious, teasingly scented and affordable Burgundy.

Unfortunately, I then remembered the promise to myself to be more expensive. What an opportunity to try a halfway decent Burgundy! The sort of thing I never drink because I cannot afford it. I asked for advice. "I never bother with Burgundy under £20," said the salesman. "It's just not worth it." So he recommended one at exactly £20, Domaine Lechenaut Nuits St George 1999. I left the shop with three other bottles having spent a total of £60, more than the week's food budget.

It was a Tuesday evening and the night before New Year's Eve. In other words, a common or garden weekday night and by popular wisdom exactly the wrong time to be drinking special wine. My boyfriend threw a mild sulk when I broke the news that he would not be permitted to eat dinner on the sofa watching television. Then, without telling him its cost, I opened the Nuits St George and poured a glass. He looked up from its rim in amazement. "This is stunning. It's the classical music of wine, isn't it? I've never had anything so delicious before. I know you love Pinot Noir but, from the wines we've drunk before, I could never understand why. Now I see it."

We spent the entire evening admiring the wine; its grace, its eloquence, the way each mouthful sang bewitchingly across the tastebuds. And that was it, we were lost. Not only have we acquired a taste for £20-a-bottle wine, we've convinced ourselves it's worth it. I'm already beginning to wonder how I shall find it if I spend a little more. More dangerous still, we've decided it's far better to colour in a gloomy midweek evening with good wine than to fritter it on a distractingly treat-packed weekend. Now I just need to work out how to pay for it all.

This article first appeared in the 19 January 2004 issue of the New Statesman, Islamophobia