Wime Reviews: Rowan Ireland is The Oxford Blue’s wine reviewer. He really is.
Les Frères Lumière, Côtes du Rhône, 2018: Majestic £6.99 (mix 6)
Trigger Warning: Blood, unnecessary violence, adult themes & ancient Greece
Rowan’s tasting notes:
On the nose: Two days after a bar fight, when you can still smell the blood that encrusts your nose hairs, but you have finally calmed down enough to realise that the plot of The Day After Tomorrow is probably not worth decking someone with a bar stool.
On the palate: Pepper… for real. I actually tasted it. And then I looked at the back of the bottle and it said “pepper”. I got it right!!
Pair with: That catchy song that my sofa has been humming since day 7 of isolation.
“This wine is weak!” I announce, falling from my chair.
It is not.
From my new perspective almost 6ft below my previous one, I realise that going to a bar is a simply marvellous idea, and set off crawling for the front door.
I pull myself onto a bar stool and order a drink as some handsome fellow slides up beside me and begins stirring his rum & coke with an open hand. A punter walks past and indecently tips most of an appletini over my shoulder.
“You look like the sort of person who gets drinks spilt on them often… ” my seducer remarks “… Damp.”
“Come here often?” I riposte, expecting an answer.
Thrown by the sudden flim-flam I order another drink. “Why do you ask?”
“Do you not want to answer?”
“Would you want to answer a strange man stirring a drink with his entire hand!”
“Your drink sir” the bartender threatens.
I hold it to my nose and inhale, “this is milk!”
“Is that not what you ordered?” the bartender asks.
“I guess… I’m just surprised that you served me.”
The wine. The wine. I had almost forgotten.
I tenderly nuzzle at the pale flavours. Ah, the taste of dew flopping off an overladen grass blade. You can see the hairs of each leaf magnified by the silvering balls of juice.
And this flavour…. Is that? Melancholy?
Yes, the steady flavour of subtle sadness. And pepper.
I can’t get over the pepper, it is ramming itself… around, like a Beyblade off the string, cutting grooves into the skirting board, trimming at my Achilles tendon.
“Patroclus” I annunciate carefully, playing lightly with each syllable, “Won’t you fix my tendon darling?”
I lie there, propped against a rock, the concrete walls of troy standing concave behind me as my blood trickles down into a small grove of grape vines, and olive trees. The fighting seems to have stopped for now, presumably because I have disappeared from the battle field and no one is too sure if that means that it is all over. A chariot pulls up onto the curb and revs the engine. “Fancy a ride”, says the frog man from two wine reviews ago. “I don’t think that would work with the story that I’m building” I say, rearranging my toga, “But send Mrs. Frog my love”.
Patroclus ambles over, he has clearly been trying to make clothing out of vine leaves again, but I choose not to comment on his sybaritic leaf placement, hoping that he might cradle my head just long enough for someone to paint an oil painting of my death.
“You hate it don’t you.”
“What… No? I’m literally just sat here bleeding out?”
“You don’t need to say anything. It’s in the way you look at me. You always think I’m so pointless, whilst you are out fighting your wars, I have to do something you know? I don’t just stop existing when you go somewhere else.”
“I literally didn’t say anything… Ffs Patroclus, this was supposed to be a funny moment where I mentioned you in passing because of a stray Beyblade, and you have somehow managed to make my literal death scene about you and your stupid obsession with plant fashion.”
“I don’t know why I bother anymore. I have to try so hard just to get you to notice me. Why do you think I’ve been making clothes out of vine leaves?”
“Goodness, I regret even bringing you into this wine review. I’ll die on my own. I’m seriously considering just backspacing until your name is scrubbed from this Patroclus.”
Rowan Ireland is a 2nd year Fine Artist at The Queen’s College, often likened to that unstoppable force that tears its way towards an immovable object that we are about to find out isn’t quite so immovable after all.