Illustration: Daisy Leeson

Toro Loco Superior: £3.79 ALDI

Rowan’s tasting notes:

On the nose: Biting; a cruel satire directed at a mouthful of my awful friends and my own terrible personality.

On the palate: Seriously? It only cost £3.79? This is incredible.

Pair with: A strict diet of crushed-ice and cigarettes.

Score: 5, but in a good way.

Hi guys. We hope you’ll play along and have fun with this wine review. However, please enjoy safely. Before reading, ask your parents to help move chairs, tables and other objects you might bump into. And please remember: don’t run, jump or dance while drinking the wine.



I have an awful lot of feelings, and an awful lot of them hurt. “That said, it could be worse” I think, turning to the drinks cabinet and asking politely for a glass of water.

A glass of Toro Loco in hand I sit down heavily upon my heart and put some trash onto the aux cable who rejects it whole-heartedly and puts on Taylor Swift, it knows my mood better than I do.

“Your feelings are a performance” a portrait tells me, but I’m not all that interested in the opinions of oil paints, and ignore it, tuning in as Taylor gives way to some Oxford based indie band. The storm certainly is over, the air is truly cooler, and my goodness, someone is lying in my attic.

Emotions be damned, I’m going clubbing. Clubs are open now, fuck it, why not. And now I’m in park end, lying in the ATIK. This song sucks… sucks my heart through a straw and spits it into a dry glass of mint and ice, the remnants of a mojito.

The storm breaks and my emotions become a wine review. I learn what it means to emote, and discover that it is extraordinarily easy to write about wine. You simply need to absorb a thrumming bassline and pretend that you’re living the life of a small indie band. Bring on the fish and chips, the vinyl records, that small frog that we once found under a log by a friend’s house.

A respectable moth flutters too close to my face and reminds me of dating apps. “No!” I cry, “people on dating sites hate me even more than people off dating sites.”

The moth reassess and tries to bugger my bedside light.

Isolation has worn through my hard crustacean exterior, and discovered a malleable interior, perfectly capable of emoting (just like a crab, or office block). I live to prove Steph from year 11 wrong. “See, I have emotions now, and you have nothing.” Steph gives way to my year 13 biology teacher who gives way to a small pebble that I found on the beach once.

“Go on, seize it. Seize it hard, and do unspeakable things with ‘the day’. It is yours to carpe.”

“Good lord, you are one depraved pebble.” I incredule, launching it as far as an arm can launch a pebble, towards Ireland, out and beyond to New York, or Australia or something.

“Throw yourself too Rowan. Float away” the pebble calls back to me, smacking the moist sand about 20 metres away.

And I float. Flying is quite easy, you simply lift one foot off the ground, and then the other, and don’t concern yourself too much with feet – a feat that some people may find harder than others.

And I float, up above the coast and back to Oxford, over that indie band, over Atik, over ducks, geese, small purple flowers whose names my grandma would have known, and I touch down lightly, my feet licking the ground that I might have walked if this isolation weren’t in place. They lap at the tarmac, at the dust that has blown in, slurp at tumble weed.

“Salt me” I cry at the sky, begging any empyrean being to come out of hibernation and salad me. But a loose phone wire, fapping against its stem replies; “leave Rowan, this story isn’t about you. It should be about wine, but you couldn’t even manage that.”

The wine was good. So good. It came out for coffee, and stayed for a walk, and then said “my friend is having a party, you should totally come.” This is a wine to fall in love with, knowing in your heart that it is going to fall in love with you too.

Rowan Ireland isn’t a second year Fine Artist, and this wine was only £3.79

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.