Rowan Ireland is The Oxford Blue’s worst nightmare, cowering in the digital shadows of their website, burrowing under firewalls, and posting wine reviews. They can’t stop me. No one can.

Acacia Road, Sauvignon Blanc 2018: £5.99 Majestic

Rowan’s tasting notes:

On the nose: The dust that rises at sunset from the fields of golden grass at the foot of the mountain. The kittens nursing from the mother cat. The wolf-pups rolling at the feet of the she-wolf. Baby rabbits [insert the correct word] playing at a safe distance from the predators.

On the palate: Ambrosia. Sweet honey that cradles your hands, running up and down your arms. Sticky.

Pair with: The wilderness that is Spotify after it has been left to its own devices for the last hour.

Score: White wine? I don’t know. I can’t review this shit. Like 50?


Showering by the light of a streetlamp filtered through the fogged up lens of the part-opened window (the candle long since succumbed to consumption), I take a small sip from my glass, swanning my neck out from the cascade. A sporadic flashing hazard light from my speaker, thirsty for charge, lighting the streams a fleeting orange.

Now the water is run out, and I emerge. My dressing gown in the washing machine, I robe myself in cardigans, and jumpers, never once thinking to pull the duvet from my squalid bed – I wouldn’t want that foul thing anywhere near me.

The glass is ended, but unlike a sandwich I can simply refill it. Between the fridge and my nest the stairs have turned to lava, but I evade them in one healthy bound, the Assassins Creed II soundtrack pounding through my veins.

Returned, I cast open my curtains, wrenching them off the rails into piles on the floor. They could have been folded by Michelangelo, spilling over the body of some saint or mother. A single star mocks me, screaming through the heavy cloud cover, but tonight it is someone else’s problem.

I step out of the window into the night, to take a long stroll through the city streets in a taxi, sipping my wine and rocking the cab with literal jumps of joy.

I find myself a lovely wife for the summer, the sort that you can show to your family over skype to nods of conserved approval. She washes her hair in mountain streams, walks barefoot, milks goats.

My adult friends come over and I pour us glasses of wine emblazoned with slogans like “The wine that makes you want to kill everyone in the room”. My wife and I hide the wine which I currently review from my foul guests, they are just friends from my school days in any case.

Malcom or Johhanne or some other unnamed character spews ‘wine facts’. “Never drink Rioja in a rain storm”. And on and on… Terrible company.

The wine isn’t ‘white wine’ in the pejorative sense – it is regal, sweet, fattened, citric, voluminous, diaphanous, words. A wine to show your family over skype. They nod again, tired of nodding, but unaware of the other gestures.

I shatter the bottle, better to get at the wine, sieving out the shards with a jam sieve (the sort of equipment I would have never owned before my midsummer marriage).

The strings swell, some other strings chug away, a cymbal clangs every few bars, a tambourine crunches. There are timpani now, a choir of children. The music goes on for so long. I float away, up into the open air; I am the camera. The credits roll. They all say “Rowan”.

Rowan Ireland is a 2nd year Foul Art student.

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.