Wime Reviews: Rowan Ireland is the Oxford Blue’s weekly wine reviewer. Please forgive Rowan’s distasteful word choices as he works his way through the cheap wines of the world.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, 2017: Tesco Finest £7.00

Rowan’s tasting notes:

On the nose: Desperate and gritty like your five-year-old begging you for an ice cream from a shop on the beach.

On the pallet: Deep and intense and a touch portentous but by the end a smooth well finished wine who would offer up his scarf after a night at the opera.

Score: 36 – marks were deducted for staining my shirt and the feral behaviour of the first few sips.


This is a wine to breathe. You sip – of course you sip – but you must breathe too. Sucking in gulp after gulp of wine nuzzled air. The window, extraordinarily open, brings plumes of wine damasked wind up into the roof of my mouth, drily crunching against my hard pallet. A self-satisfied warmth blossoms in my lungs as I breathe the wine. Gurgling happily to myself in a corner, wine spilling over my hands and arms, like a fish, I burble softly.

I sigh, but you shouldn’t sigh into wine because it will bubble up and spill all over your shirt. Stained red I flop into an armchair and throw a meaningful look at the light switch. The lamp dutifully dims, desperate for my favour and the room cuddles in on me. Putting the glass on a conveniently placed pedestal I address the room, occasionally dipping my fingers into the wine and lapping it up like a dexterous cat. I orate on my life; this wine has a narcissistic character which I quickly digest. The wine takes no responsibility and gets up to leave but I halt it with a smile and it settles onto my lap, resting its neck against mine. The chair crumbles and so do I, like a dark chocolate digestive into coffee.

As the bottle slips away into the cold Oxford night I smirk, “how wonderful this wine is” I announce, pouring another libation down my shirt. In twenty years I’ll be sat in a fancy restaurant with my fancy friends and describe this wine in the same way one might describe their fancy new pool boy. Whilst it is certainly wine, it is so much more than just wine. Rowan Atkinson sprinkles a handful of lavender over it before wrapping the flavour in a length of ribbon. Right now the audience hate me but I don’t mind. It is just me and the Montepulciano forever.

“1000 Years” (Christina Perry) and “Claire de Lune” (you know the one) start playing simultaneously, but the reference is too obscure and I pick up the bottle and close the door on my way out.

Rowan Ireland is a second-year Fine Art student at Queen’s College