Turning Point is an evocative name for a wine. To my mind, it connotes a welcome departure from the snobbery that surrounds wine appreciation. In a broader sense, the name also suggests a watershed. For the Indian wine industry, which continues to grapple with excess production, inadequate export levels and a poor international image, a watershed is the need of the hour. Several domestic consumers consider Indian wines plonk.
Ask Ashwin Deo, the founder and managing director of Trinity Vintners, which launched the Turning Point range of wines last month, how he relates to the name and he says that after having managed operations for multinational wine and beer companies where it was all about hard-selling (yes, that’s what it apparently takes to get your wines listed at Indian hotels and restaurants), launching his own brand was a turning point.
Deo emphasizes that his wines are meant to be uncomplicated, easy and fun to drink. The packaging is vibrant, youthful, unpretentious and targets the non-traditional wine drinkers: All the wines have clear descriptions in three words to help the first-time drinker take his pick of the four wines on offer (the fifth, a rosé, will follow soon). So far so good.
Tasting notes: Kimaya keeps it traditional, while Turning Point aims to demystify wine. Abhiit Bhatlekar/Mint
I sampled four wines from his newly launched brand and one from another new brand, Kimaya. Here are some early impressions:
Turning Point’s Chenin Blanc
It is pale lemon in colour, and citrus lemon and slightly floral on the nose. On the palate, the wine is off-dry (with a hint of sweetness), with a taste of grapefruit on the finish. You can feel a slight alcoholic warmth at the back of your throat, but overall the wine is what it promises to be—light, easy and crisp. It will pair best with salads, light fried snacks and delicately spiced steamed fish.
Turning Point’s Sauvignon Blanc
The colour is again pale lemon. It has pungent aromas of green pepper and grass, coming from the grape variety. It is crisp and refreshing on the palate, with a lemony finish. This is also a light-bodied wine, which will pair well with soft cheeses and tomato-based pasta dishes.
Turning Point’s Shiraz
It is a deep ruby colour, but on the nose, the wine was disappointing. On the palate, the wine lacked the taste of sweet fruit and the vegetal notes were overwhelming. The acidity seemed out of balance. This one definitely needs improvement.
Turning Point’s Shiraz Cabernet
Again a deep ruby colour, it emanates cherry aromas and is a blend of two grape varietals. On the palate, there was a concentration of flavours and fullness of body. However, there is no good use of oak. This wine is simple, with possibly green unripe tannins because the aftertaste is slightly bitter, and will pair well with mildly spiced Indian and Italian dishes and red meat.
Kimaya’s Shiraz 2010
Global Wines and Spirits recently launched Kimaya Wines, a range of Australian wines made under the expertise of Ben Riggs, an Australian winemaker who is known to have championed McLaren Vale’s (a wine region in Australia) efforts at making outstanding Shiraz.
With its reasonable price range, this brand is likely to work well with consumers who seek value for money in a country laden with heavily taxed wines.
The Shiraz I tasted is a deep ruby, with a combined aroma of strawberry, red currants and a hint of spice. It is dry and full-bodied, with an acidity emerging from sweet ripe red and black fruits intermingling with sweet spice. The wine lacks complexity derived from oak, but it’s a good fruity wine that can go well with mildly spiced curries, grilled fish and tandoori and meat dishes.
Turning Point’s wines are priced at Rs 375 (for a 375ml bottle) and Rs 675 (for 750ml). Kimaya’s wines are priced atRs 1,200-1,500 (750ml).
Sonal Holland is a Mumbai-based wine educator, consultant and writer.
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