Illustration: Daisy Leeson

Wime Reviews: Rowan Ireland is The Oxford Blue’s wine reviewer. He had a really cool dream last night where he stole a car, and could somehow drive really well. He went with a friend up to a beautiful field and it was all very romantic.

De Bortoli 1628 Durif, 2015: Majestic £6.59 (mix 6)

Rowan’s tasting notes:

On the nose: The moist, fabric smell of your face mask.

On the palate: Unfailingly.

Pair with: The microwavable lasagne that you can get delivered whilst you’re in self-isolation.

Score: “About 60” I think, wondering if anyone reads this bit.


“Very good!” I exclaim as an ice cream van rams me into the cliff, again. I stumble up, pulling handfuls of sand from my mouth as the van revs it’s Mr. Whippy machine.

A 99 flake is forced down my throat backwards. It’s like the Pingu beak is ‘nooting’ into my oesophagus.

This wine has a funereal after taste. Licking at the varnish that has seeped through the nail-holes in my coffin, I knock twice and the lid swings off. I am somehow now at a party on a boat, but I don’t know anyone so I stride off down the gang plank back onto the beach.

It is a steady wine and the sort of thing that I would recommend if I were in the business of recommending wine. A red purple foam swims across the surface, goading me like bubble bath. But like bubble bath, the foam is best taken with a sip of that which is beneath. I slip down further into the warm wine until, like an alligator, my nose, eyes and upper lip look out across the water. My mouth swims in a pond of wine, replenished by the pool which splashes against my tonsils before floating back out between my open lips.

A frog looks down on me from the bank and invites me to see his lily-pad, and to meet Mrs. Frog. I swim off down the creek, following the frog-man, my mouth still open, like a basking shark filtering the foam from the wine-river’s surface. My editor appears ahead, tapping her stop-watch to remind me to return to the wine review, and I pull myself out of the river; “You’ll have to show me your house next time Mr. Frog” I call out as I return to the wine-reviewing office.

The wine has a girthy taste – clever but infatuated with the inside of my mouth, it laps furiously between my tongue and soft pallet. It’s like a mouth-wash advert, filmed from the viewpoint of my gag-reflex.

A demon awakens and crawling from the depths reminds me to say words like “dark fruits”, “meaty tannins” or “fresh choccy milk”, but I beat it back with a broom.

“No one understands you” I scream through my tears.

The ice cream van revs again, reminding me that I never finished that point, and at the same time a vanilla pod bursts within me. Vanilloid ooze


Tyres spin on the dry sand – the van’s wings are clipped. I stroll away, brushing sand and blood from my cuts. A Cornetto gripped in one hand, I am a success. I will phone mother later to let her know of my victory.

This wine tastes like that ice cream – neither frozen, nor warm, it’s temperature tepid. I sublimate subliminally.

And sip once more.

Rowan Ireland is a 2nd year Fine Artist 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.