Wime Reviews: Rowan Ireland is the Oxford Blue’s wine reviewer. Fear him, his power is unequalled; quake before his reviews. The rivers shall run red with The Wine of The Week.

Carta Roja Gran Reserva, 2013: Sainsbury’s £5.75

Rowan’s tasting notes:

On the nose: The tender nuzzling of a sapling against a wooden fence, un-aware of its mortality.

On the Legs: That soft burn that follows climbing the stairs at the end of a long day.

Pair with: Scrolling through google trying to find how to recover the original word document of this review that you lost after a night out.

Score: Firstly,


“Go on then. Show me what you’ve got!”, I flirt. A fold-up chair swings out from an incognito opening onto the alleyway flinging me backwards off my skateboard, bandana catching on my zipper. An EU flag flaps seductively above me as I stare up at the sky gradually fading into unconsciousness.

Sat on top of some library, the skyline sits like crumpled paper below me. I hear an eerie voice emerge from the bottle and the words “drink ye of me” chanted in surprising ways. I peer down the bottle’s shaft to see from whence this lovely voice erupts and in its heart I see myself rouged and reflected back, for the voice came from within me. I sip the wine, but it sips me harder.

The wine itself is beautiful, oaky musk and exhibitory tannins; some fruit that I would neither name nor buy vomits on me. The flavour crumbles over my hair like soil between the glistening fingers of the Weingärtner. Reliably this wine feels lovely between my toes.

So warming, so densely packed with the hot juice of fraternity – this wine would go to a bar with me after a long day, both of us too tired for it to really be sensible, both of us too busy to vindicate the interlude, but both of us aware that we are made in one another’s company. This wine comes to the bar, and before we know it, we are mounting the columns leading to the library’s roof. The wine smiles into me and I into it. This isn’t the sort of relationship that songs like Hey There Delilah will remind me of, this is dancing to Human as the sun fingers the horizon. The grass now mingles with the wine between my toes, “and the rivers with the oceans”.

“Just act like a person” I implore myself, glaring into the bathroom mirror before returning to my date.

“What would you do if I pierced your ear with my teeth?” I ask, immediately standing up to leave. The wine sits on a desk back in my room, and it has neither judgement nor ears with which to mock me. But my date takes my hands in one, and with the other removes a mask. It was the wine the whole time.

It’s a cheap wine that you could, and have, showed up to your friend’s house with and handed to their parents with a coy smile. A golden net wrapp around the bottle and Venetian-red highlights lick your eyeballs. This wine is classy without class. As it gets up to leave it gives your father a handshake, and he no longer regrets buying you a pony in year 6. You’ve done well, son” he says, the wine proving that you can make it for yourself in this harsh world. He need never know it was from the shelf just below eye level.

Rowan Ireland is a 6,000 year old lizard person who sleeps in the dank space beneath his bed, hoping no one will ever ask why the duvet is always folded in the exact same way, but none the less, he forgets to save his wine reviews before turning off his computer.

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.