Wime Reviews: Rowan Ireland is the Oxford Blue’s weekly wine reviewer. Please ignore Rowan’s distasteful word choices as he drinks his way through the cheap wines of the world.

Côtes du Rhône villages 2018: Tesco £7.50

Rowan’s tasting notes:

On the nose: Facetious in a deeply attractive way.

On the palate: Complex and sociopathic, like a Noël Coward character.

Pair with: “Alone” (Heart, 1987)

Score: 73 – marks were deducted because someone called me ugly in year 6.


Running my fingers through its hair, eye to eye, nose to nose, sparks fly between our smiling lips. I drop the bottle and spin as the wine dissolves and I am absorbed by a purple dress and an aptitude for writing pop hits about my ex-boyfriends.

This wine has the flavour of a good walk. I move quickly down a second-rate street, headphones on. Windows explode around me, lampposts bend towards me- for some reason I’ve got a baseball bat. Wine crushes me in studio-quality surround sound, and reverberates through my filling lungs. My god, they’re filling with music – the music of wine. Red and sticky.

And now the song changes to something more reflective – almost folk – a banjo doing things that it shouldn’t. The wine folds itself around a mic stand like a flexible singer, whisky in hand, an accordion sat in the corner takes a bite out of a rug that someone has hung on the wall.

I’m not searching for the best wine. Just a wine to keep me company on these cold winter nights. I can find a new better wine when the Spring comes, and I have energy for the hunt, but for now I am content, bathed in the warm hugs of mediocrity.

Though for all my brash lashings of bitterness, this wine has a tender sweetness, shared deep down in all things. The sweetness that like a seed grows into a golden flower when water’d with praise. This lily is not gilded, it is just a lily, but you know, it’s the little things in life – isn’t the point that it doesn’t have to be gilded anyway? So long as it has a good jaw line.

I wave my arms in the hopes that some furniture might start moving around but accidentally hitting the wardrobe reminds me that magic is a recessive gene that receded. To spite me a painting falls off the wall, but that’s not what I magicked. Somewhere in London a street lamp goes out, bemused, a man walks into the pool of the next as it too extinguishes. He rushes down the street that darkens as he progresses. Poor fellow. I didn’t mean to do that either. I surmount the castle mound, glancing my incredulous gaze over all the world. Its unimaginably beautiful, like that lily, gilded for once. Somewhere below me the wine stares up, envious of my elevation, but proud too. I move on.

Rowan Ireland is a second-year Fine Art student at The Queen’s College

Rowan Ireland

Rowan Ireland is The Oxford Blue's wine reviewer in exile. A fan of everything, Rowan wakes up with the dawn screaming, and enjoys long walks around his hometown on a remote mountainous island north of England. When he isn't writing wime reviews he can't be found.