Wine Photo Credit: Constellation

Three Cheers for the Overdog!

In wine everybody loves the underdog, but some times the big guy needs some love too.

See Ya Later Ranch Rover 2013 $19

While there are a few dogs kicking around this property I’m pretty sure a marketing person came up with the idea of a dog named Rover. I say that because See Ya Later and its smartly designed labels are part of the Constellation wines conglomerate and not a boutique operation run by a family of dog lovers. And I’m thankful for that, because in the hands of some cash-strapped sole proprietors I have a feeling this wine would be about 20% more expensive and about 110% more difficult to find.

The truth is, small wineries do some amazing things—grow obscure grapes, experiment with crop levels—but all that stuff costs money and when you’re a small operation there are scant economies of scale at play. SYL (as See Ya Later is affectionately branded) suffers from none of those things, but that’s not to say the winery is run by some faceless multinational. This wine is overseen by well-regarded winemaker Dave Carson and here he’s trying to channel a slice of the Northern Rhone with a wine that’s aggressively spicy and meaty. The 2012 version of this wine won the Premier’s Wine Award last year (don’t worry she didn’t choose it) after a group of judges blind-tasted 540 bottles. My guess is that they were surprised when the labels were revealed, and I confess to be a tad surprised when I tasted the 2103 vintage, even after knowing what the wine was. This isn’t a wine that tastes made by a committee. It’s idiosyncratically delicious with tastes like smoke and tobacco and blackberries.  My only complaint—I’m sure someone at head office told Carson to put Shiraz on the label, which is a shame because this is a wine for Syrah lovers.

All hail the overdog.

 

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