Northern Iran is one of the birthplaces of wine, as records from 5,000 B.C. indicate a nomad culture living there and celebrating wine. Darioush Khaledi was instilled at an early age with the winemaking craft of his father and began collecting fine wine at a young age. He migrated from Iran 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 recently had the chance to visit the gorgeous property in Napa. Darioush is truly one of the most beautiful wineries in North America. Darioush is one of the few wineries where the quality of wine equals or surpasses the splendor of their property. Their current lineup was just as good as any in Napa. Look for their 2016 Darioush Viognier (WWB, 93) which rivals the best in North America. Even better was the 2014 Darioush Cabernet Franc (WWB, 96) which showed an incredible mouthfeel and silky texture and is up there with the best Cabernet Franc that I have sampled in the past year. Learn more about this famed winery at darioush.com. Here are the great new wines by Darioush.
2016 Darioush Viognier- This wine wine was mainly aged in neutral oak for seven months (100% oak aged) and was largely sourced from their Napa estate vineyard in Oak Knoll. The wine begins with bright aromatics of white peach, roasted pineapple and suggestions of lychee. This has an exotic bouquet that impresses. There are ripe flavors reminiscent of pineapple, white peach and candied pink grapefruit. The mouthfeel and texture is gorgeous. Drink 2017-2024- 93
2015 Darioush Chardonnay- Released in January 2017 the wine was sourced from their Oak Knoll Estate as well as the Hudson and Beckstoffer Vineyards in the Carneros Region. The Chardonnay was aged for 12 months in 66% new French oak prior to bottling. The wine saw weekly battonage. The wine begins with a bright bouquet of vanilla cream, creme brulee, toasted hazelnuts and brioche. The palate shows wonderful flavors of creme brulee, heavy whipping cream, ripe pineapple and suggestions of lemon curd. This shows wonderful texture and balance. Drink 2017-2027- 94
2014 Darioush ‘Duel’ Red Wine- This wine is a compelling blend of 65% Syrah and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is sourced from the Oak Knoll District. This inky colored wine begins with bright aromatics of rose petals, red cherry, lavender and suggestions of wild blackberry pie. The silky texture glides through the mid-palate. Mocha, black tea, black cherry and baking spice flavors impress. This is another stunner by Darioush as this is downright delicious. Drink 2017-2027- 94
2014 Darioush Shiraz- This Syrah wine is sourced from a host of Darioush estates in Napa. The Syrah begins with intense aromatics of black tea, black currant, coffee grounds and suggestions of nutmeg. The mouthfeel and texture is absolutely outstanding. The wine takes on a hedonistic edge as it showcases Turkish coffee, Asian spices, black olive tapenade and black cherry cough syrup. The terroir and salinity of the wine is apparent. Drink this gorgeous wine over the next decade. Drink 2017-2027- 94
2014 Darioush Cabernet Franc-This awesome Cabernet Franc wine begins with aromas of red bell pepper, cigar box, mocha and black tea. The palate is lithe and plush as the wine currently displays massive tannins and a dazzling minerality. The wine has a sexy and silky mouthfeel as flavors of black tea, black currant, blackberry cobbler and crushed mint impress. Seductive and downright intoxicating, this is one of the best Cabernet Franc expressions in the world. Try to give this stunning wine another year at least in the bottle to develop. Drink 2018-2030- 96
2013 Darioush ‘Darius II’ Cabernet Sauvignon- Deep and intense, the ‘Darius II’ is a blend of 90% Cabernet with 6% Malbec and 4% Merlot that was primarily sourced form their Mt. Veeder estate. This stunning wine begins with intense aromatics of rose petals, creme de cassis, anise, pencil shavings and sweet pipe tobacco. The mouthfeel is seductive and plush. The wine shows off fleshy flavors of Chinese black tea, mocha, mint, creme de cassis, anise and wild blackberry preservers. This is a memorable heavyhitter by Darioush. Drink 2018-2035- 98