Wime Reviews: Rowan Ireland is the Oxford Blue’s wine reviewer. Join him as he respectfully reviews the most affordable wines in oxford. You can get involved by donating a bottle, or taking him out for drinks. Please, he’s desperate.

Native Vieilles Vignes Carignan, 2018: The Oxford Wine Company £8.99

Rowan’s tasting notes:

On the nose: The memory of summer that fades away like tears into a pillow as the rain licks my face

On the palate: Casting the curtains aside and realising you won’t need a jumper today.

Pair with: “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” Natalie Cole – drink every time it makes you smile. (Bonus points if you listen to The Oxford Gargoyles’ recording “This Will Be/Everlasting Love” – though it probably wouldn’t be safe to drink every time that makes you smile)

Score: 79 – Spotify decided to play me “Sad Beautiful Tragic” (T Swizzle) and it broke the dam I use to avoid emotions


“How may I help you darling sir” a kindly wine merchant enquires as I enter his shop.

“Do you have any bottles that will remind me of happiness, are light and strong with the lingering flavour of summer-lovin’, flower crowns and sunsets over Stonehenge?” I ask. I then remember that this professional wine-seller might have a different wine lexicon to me, but he smiles quite widely and reaches to a shelf as he says “I have just the thing for you”. He sure does.

I can’t quite believe how good this wine is. It flows into me just as needed, a general desperation melting away in the face of this wine. It strides up to the hall doors, and they fly open for which the wine promptly apologises. This wine is the heaven wherein my soul abides, my heart and my tummy too.

I throw open the curtains. Would you look at that – its summer now. Flowers have sprung from the earth, there are leaves again (remember those?) and birds are singing, but not much. The clouds part and beam of pure sunlight flops onto the path in front of me. The cyclists cycle with their heads up, no longer bent against the wind. There are no cars or busses; it is like Venice but without all the water – just wine. I read in the morning newspaper that Adele has done a cover of “Moonraker” (the Bond Song) but she is just playing the triangle. Shirley Bassey is still singing. I take a bite of my croissant and don’t have to pay with anything more than smiles as I set off to my day job that is deeply mundane but enjoyable due to a complex rom-com office romance.

I open my gullet to the summer breeze and fresh wine floods my mouth, bringing with it memories Pimm’s, croquette and happiness.

Oh sweet vintner who bestowed this ambrosioid oblation upon me, my heart beats for you, my breath quickens at the very thought that upon my return you may recommend another drink so pure, so smooth.

I settle into a leather seat, an interaction has left me shaken, not stirred. “Did you know, James Bond is a perfect example of a psychopath” the wine informs me, clearly unaware of the irony. I sip again, the wine kissing my lips with red nefarity. And I rest my heavy head on the seat back.

“Earth has not anything to show more fair” I think, and then “golly” as I cancel all of my appointments for tomorrow.

My essay crisis pours itself another glass, Madonna tries to stop it but I skip her and Andrea Bocelli gives me the encouragement that I need. I sip as a good tenor blares out “Con te partiro”, and con te the wine partiro’s. And it departs deeply.

Google translate having wicked up my creativity I pour another glass. I won’t have to bother getting out a wine-bottle stopper tonight, and I won’t regret it either. The wine slithers like vermillion (from the Latin vermis), a vivid red worm slipping around the table top. Take Google away from me.

The sun crushes me, and I crush back hard with a deep infatuation for warmth, to turn off my radiator and bask in the glory of the radiant dawn. Shakespeare’s weird fear of the sun evaporates and neither its heat, nor its lease scorn me. I lie back into a paddling-pool of summer and close my eyes into the light.

‘The Oxford Wine Company’ offers a 10 per cent discount for students

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.