A month ago I had a magical visit to one of the most beautiful wineries in Napa, Darioush. The Darioush story is an inspired by the American dream. 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. Darioush Khaledi is an inspired American dream.
Following his business successes, Darioush set out to craft the best overall lineup of wines in Napa.The new lineup of wines by Darioush was simply stunning. I was amazed by the new release Merlot, their 2016 Darioush Merlot (WWB, 95) which shows amazing purity of fruit and serious range. This is one of the best California Merlots that I have sampled over the past year. This wine has it all, from a silky texture, to insane mid-palate range. Darioush has developed a sterling reputation for their Cabernet Franc wines. The 2016 Darioush Cabernet Sauvignon (WWB, 96) shows amazing viscosity and lovely herbal tones. Do not miss out on these two stunners. The best wine I sampled was the 2014 Darioush ‘Darius II’ Cabernet Sauvignon (WWB, 97) which combines both decadence and elegance, with silky tannins and a voluptuous mouthfeel. Learn more about this special winery at darioush.com. Here are the great new wines by Darioush.
2018 Darioush Viognier- This opens with aromas of gorgeous honeysuckle with bananas foster and shades of vanilla cream on the nose. The freshness and tension in the wine is seriously good. Vanilal cream with salted pear and shades of apricot all collide on the palate. Fresh and light on its feet, this will cellar well over the next decade. Drink 2019-2025- 93
2017 Darioush Chardonnay- The 2017 Darioush Chardonnay was largely sourced from three estate vineyards in the southern region of Napa Valley as well as some fruit from the Carneros AVA. The wine was aged for 11 months in 66% new French oak, seeing weekly battonage. The nose is quite perfumed with bright pear and Gala apple aromas with shades of nutmeg and creme brûlée that sing on the nose. The freshness of the wine is quite profound with buttercream and honeydew melon tones that mingle with nutmeg infused brioche. Outstanding in its youth, this will cellar well over the next decade. Drink 2019-2029- 93
2016 Darioush ‘Signature’ Merlot- The 2016 ‘Signature’ Merlot by Darioush is a stunning new wine by the talented winemaking team at Darioush. Sourced from the Darioush Estate Vineyard as well as their vineyard in Mt. Veeder. The wine was aged for 22 months in largely new French oak prior to bottling. The nose is perfumed and simply gorgeous as ripe dark plum with shades of red cherry tomato and black cherry cordial. The palate shows a silky character with lovely tension. The weight of the wine is fantastic as the wine unveils black cherry liquor with blackberry pie and shades of dusty terroir and shades of sandalwood. While fantastic now, this will evolve marvelously for fifteen plus years. Drink 2019-2035- 95
2016 Darioush ‘Signature’ Shiraz-The 2016 Darioush ‘Shiraz’ was aged for eighteen months in entirely new French oak barrels prior to bottling. The fruit was entirely sourced from Napa Valley floor vineyards. On the nose this shows beautifully perfumed red rose petals with shades of licorice and dusty terroir that are all woven together in the glass. The texture to the wine is downright sensational. Black tea, exotic spices, black cherry compote and shades of smoked bacon fat all collect momentum on the palate. While deep and seductive in its youth, this beautiful wine will provide drinking enjoyment for a decade or more. Drink 2019-2032- 95
2016 Darioush ‘Signature’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2016 ‘Signature’ Cabernet Sauvignon is a combination of 8% Merlot with the remainder Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. The wine was entirely aged in French oak (85% new) for twenty two months prior to bottling. The aromatics really impress here with sandalwood and Asian spices with black tea and blackberry compote that all combine marvelously on the nose. The palate has beautiful freshness and poise, with a great sense of balance. Creme de cassis, mocha, tear, leather and shades of blackberry pie all mingle together on the palate. Fantastic now, this will only improve with some bottle age. Drink 2020-2040- 96