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

Coliman Bonarda / Malbec, 2018: The Oxford Wine Company £8.99

Rowan’s tasting notes:

On the nose: Stop sniffing your wine, you’re so pretentious. As if you actually know what you are sniffing for.

On the palate: The wine licks your tongue, not unlike another tongue might have if you hadn’t just sniffed your wine. I can believe you did that.

Pair with: The memory of your dreams as you stare out at a gory sunset.

Score: I’d give it a firm yet supple 64, but you might disagree.


“Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!”

A plastic tube leading from a vat is jammed into my mouth to rounds of applause. Sat on the floor of an empty swimming pool, the stars goading above me, students lining the walls (is that a cappella?), I wonder “How did I get here?”

I guess I should start from the beginning. The night began as all night do, around 7:30. I had just settled into my evening chair, a book and this new bottle of wine promising to make for a very nice night.

Though underwhelming on first sip, I turn to my partner, marking the bottle about half-way down with my finger.

“By the time we get here, this will be one of the best wines of the term”. My partner can’t reply, I am alone.

I am at first shocked by its lightness, like reaching to lift a suitcase and finding it empty. I spin the bottle, goodness, its 12.5%, we will need a quick cocktail before going on, some journeys require an empty stomach before anything exciting can happen.

I wish I had bought two bottles of this wine, it’s the sort of wine you need knocking around, at the back of a drawer with some loose change, a handful of screws, some slices of paper and a few light bulbs. This is utility wine, suitable for any occasion. Is it the summer? Gosh its hot outside, perhaps you want some sangria but don’t want to say it out loud because your friends might pick you up on your poor pronunciation – this is the wine for you. Sat by a fire in the depth of winter, a bear stalking in the shadows waiting to pick you up after a few more drinks – this is the wine for you. Perhaps you went to a formal dinner and for some reason, by the end of the night there simply hadn’t been enough wine, you’re standing on a table but you know you’re faking it – this is the wine for you.

I sip gradually, savouring every drop. Like a dolphin I effortlessly swallow flung grapes, snapping at the air with my dolphin mouth. The wine pools around me, soft and fruity, it has a loose tobacco dirge, and oblique tannins that jump whenever I sip and try to hide behind one another. Yet after each gulp, the wine becomes like glue, coating the inside of my mouth – not sticky, but gluey, in an arts and crafts sort of way.

 I set the bottle down and put on my hat, this wine has made me thirst for adventure.

Hundreds of drips of wine carry the bottle and I down the road, I walk for days in a perpetual twilight, the sun becoming the moon and return to the sun at will. A red light flowers like the cusping spring. Obsequious red berries roll around in the bottom of the bottle, complementing my outfit, and suggesting I try a different flower on my jacket. I find myself faced with a forest, lit red by the vespertine sun and hold my bottle to the trees. It was then that I decided to host a party in an abandoned swimming pool.

Once again, I remind you that ‘The Oxford Wine Company’ have a 10 per cent discount for students. Do with this what you will.

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.