2011GononFeray2011 Pierre Gonon, Les Iles Feray, Vin de Pays de L’ Ardeche, Rhone Red, France.
Pierre Gonon’s lovely Les Iles Feray is 100% Syrah from vines in Saint-Joseph, he does a higher level Saint-Joseph as well, so maybe as not to confuse the issue he calls this one Les Iles Feray and labels it simply Vin de Pays de L’ Ardeche, but let me assure you this is not a cast of rejects or entry level plonk, this is seriously delicious Syrah from a winemaking maestro. Pierre Gonon, a vigneron from a Mauves, is making some amazing wines and is certainly a bright star on the northern Rhone wine scene, he makes a couple of incredible whites too, a deeply flavored Saint-Joseph Blanc with Marsanne and a touch of Roussanne as well as a crisp and suave Chassalass, a grape more common in the Savoie or Switzerland. I must say, having not had his wines before, Pierre Gonon is a very impressive winegrower and a talent to watch, most of his vines are on dramatic and steep slopes, in fact they have to tether their horse in a harness as to keep the poor thing from falling to it’s demise, but these tough conditions look to have paid off in quality terms, as all his wines are gorgeous. I understand that all the vines are tended to in biodynamic fashion and all the wines are produced old school with some whole cluster and native yeast fermentations and no new oak, and what I tasted in the glass this has allowed the terroir and varietal to shine through. The 2011 Les Iles Feray starts with amazing perfume of violets, rose petals and a background of bacon fat, wild truffles and cracked peppercorns with subtle cassis leading to a seductive and lively palate of blackberry, boysenberry, blueberry and plum fruits with mineral spice, pepper, cinnamon stick, fig paste and cherry liqueur, plus a whiff of gamey notes along with a saline and lingering anise. This is just beautiful and savvy Syrah, with a medium weight feel, great balance and heightened detail, this wine has energy and major league sex appeal, drink over the next 3 to 5 years.
($30 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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