I’d rather gladly drink a lot of d’Arenberg’s Red Ochre. I mean, I’d like to think I’d stop before doing myself a mischief. But one never can tell when one’s dealing with such a happy, carefree wine. Such a friendly, obliging wine.
For our mate Red Ochre is good company. He’s a pleasure to hang out with. He won’t do anything strange and unpredictable that might cause an awkward silence and nervous attempts to change the subject. He won’t start talking about politics, or making fart jokes. No, he’ll just help you have a good time.
So what’s he like, one-to-one?
A bit of wood, a bit of caramel, a lot of fruit. But not garish fruit. Some sharpness there — like an unsweetened bowl of fresh raspberries (so not unpleasant, then). Depth and complexity (and some tannin) to match the fruit. And, on your tongue, like silk.
On your schnoz, meanwhile, he’s a crowd-pleaser: a big fruity old dose of blackcurrant. Mouthwatering. He smells good. Not especially complex or blokey. Maybe (whisper it) rather metrosexual, actually. But good, damn it.
I don’t think this wine (yes, yes, it is a wine, not a person. You’d almost forgotten — hadn’t you? — so evocative was my prose) is setting out to be tremendously multifaceted, shimmeringly complex. It’s setting out to be very, very good to drink. And I’m very happy with that, thanks.
It’s towards the accessible side of the spectrum (with an accessible kind of price, too), but without any of the sickliness, the formulaicism, the infantilisation that too often goes with that territory. It’s very easy to enjoy, but also rather rewarding, with unexpected depths. Brilliant value.
You can spend a whole evening in its company, in other words, without getting bored. And without a single fart joke, I guarantee.
Price £7.25 from The Wine Society