One of the most gorgeous spots to taste wine in the Napa Valley, Darioush is a mainstay that crafts some absolutely exceptional red and white wines. The roots for Darioush come from Northern Iran, which is one of the world birthplaces of wine, as records from 5,000 B.C. indicate a nomad culture living there and celebrating wine. Owner and founder of Darioush, Darioush Khaledi, was instilled at an early age with the winemaking craft of his father and began collecting fine wine at a young age. Darioush migrated to the United States and owned what was once the largest family-owned grocery store business in California. His passion for wine met its apex in 1997 when he formed Darioush winery.
I can’t imagine a better setting to taste these incredible wines. As you arrive to Darioush you feel like you are entering a Byzantine temple. The palatial tasting room at Darioush is the most opulent setting for wine tasting I’ve seen. Statues and carvings fill winery and the bar area is just extraordinary. Darioush holds a special tasting of the proprietor’s personal wine collection at the winery for $300.00 but we were there to take in the breathtaking atmosphere and sample the new releases.
I have been hugely impressed with the last two releases of their wines. They continue to utilize these fantastic vintages in Napa to the fullest. One of their wines that is a must try is their 2013 Cabernet Franc (WWB, 95) which is up there with the best Cabernet Franc in the valley. This wine had an incredible range of flavors and aromatics and is a very special and cellar-worthy wine. Their 2013 Shiraz (WWB, 94) is an inky and polished Syrah wine that will also cellar very well. Darioush makes some of the best Chardonnay in the valley and their new 2014 Chardonnay (WWB, 93) was no exception as the wine shows an exotic fruit profile with balance and poise. Learn more about Darioush at https://www.darioush.com/ Here are some of the fantastic new releases that I recently sampled at Darioush.
2014 Darioush ‘Sage Vineyard’ Sauvignon Blanc- The 2014 Darioush 'Sage Vineyard' Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from three sites on top of the Darioush Mount Veeder estate in southern Napa Valley. The wine opens with aromatics of roasted pineapple, Granny Smith apple, orange blossoms and poached pear. There are flavors of Pink Lady apple, green papaya, pink grapefruit and suggestions of lychee. This has a gorgeous range of flavors and aromatics with a silky mouthfeel. Drink 2016-2022- 93
2014 Darioush Chardonnay- The 2014 Darioush Chardonnay is another exciting release from this estate. Darioush has earned a strong reputation for great Chardonnay over the years and this bottling follows up the excellent 2013 bottling. This wine was aged in 66% new French oak for 12 months prior to bottling. The wine begins with aromatics of creme brûlée, bananas foster, ripe Bartlett pear and suggestions of starfruit. There are flavors of pineapple upside down cake, creme brûlée, Honeycrisp apple and Meyer lemon oil. Lovely richness and depth to this excellent Chardonnay. Drink 2016-2022-93
2013 Darioush ‘Duel’ Red Wine- The 2013 'Duel' is sourced from two different blocks on the Darioush estate in Napa Valley and the Oak Knoll AVA. The wine is a blend of 65% Shiraz and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. This impressive wine starts with dense aromatics of mocha, smoked meats, blackberry jam and black olive. The wine has deep flavors of anise, creme de cassis, mocha and blackberry cobbler. This has some gorgeous intensity, texture and balance. The 2013 'Duel' is the best bottling of this wine that I've sampled in the past ten years. Drink 2016-2027- 94
2013 Darioush Merlot- The 2013 Darioush Merlot follows up their highly impressive 2012 bottling. This is another gorgeous wine from this estate that combines the richness of a hot vintage with the Darioush hallmark structure. This Merlot wine has 12% Cab Franc and 1% Malbec blended in. The Merlot was aged in 80% new oak for 20 months prior to release. This impressive wine begins with rich aromatics of mocha, anise, red currant, creme de cassis and prune. There are flavors of anise, red currant, cedar and milk chocolate with blackberry tones. The plush mouthfeel makes for an extraordinary textural experience. This is up there with the best Merlots in Napa. Try to give this at least one more year in the cellar before enjoying. Drink 2017-2030- 94
2013 Darioush Shiraz- Darioush makes some gorgrous Syrah and their 2013 'Shiraz' follows up their highly impressive 2012 bottling. This was sourced from Southern Napa Valley Darioush estate vineyards in the Oak Knoll and Napa Valley appellations. This very impressive wine opens with aromatics reminiscent of cloves, anise, red currant, red bell pepper and creme de cassis. The wine has rich flavors of anise, creme de cassis, mocha, coffee grounds and wild blackberry jam. This wine has gorgeous weight, texture, length and complexity with a hedonistic streak that is plush and layered. Some might find this slightly over the top, as this wine those who enjoy intense and extracted Syrah. Drink 2016-2026- 94
2013 Darioush Cabernet- The 2013 Darioush Cabernet is another gorgeous new release wine from this estate. This wine is an impressive blend of 75% Cabernet, 11% Merlot, 2% Cab Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec. This wonderful Cabernet opens with aromas of creme de cassis, anise, black olive, rose petals and Turkish coffee. There are generous flavors of anise, creme de cassis, coffee grounds and graphite. Tannic and massive, this wine that needs at least one more year before consumption. This is hedonistic and highly satisfying Napa Cabernet. Drink 2017-2040- 94
2013 Darioush Cabernet Franc- The 2013 Darioush Cabernet Franc is the best wine in the stunning new lineup of Darioush wines. This incredible Cab Franc was sourced from a high elevation Mount Veeder estate vineyard. Darioush produces very little of this wine. This stunning example of the varietal follows up the excellent 2012. This Cab Franc begins with aromas of red bell pepper, anise, eucalyptus and dill. There are deep flavors of creme de cassis, mocha, anise, red bell pepper and black olive. This masculine style Cab Franc is a layered and polished effort that will be exceedingly long lived. The wine is pretty tannic at this point, so try to give this slumbering monster at least another year. Drink 2017-2040- 95