Darioush Winery on My Mind
I often say that I “Tour the World Through Wine” so why not visit Napa Valley and feel like you are in a Persian castle? Darioush Khaledi is the owner of Darioush Winery and he brings more to the table than wonderful wines. Darioush brings the whole Persian culture to his winery in the form of art, poetry, architecture, history, graciousness, and the amazing craft of making great wines. Many Persian traditions date back to 5000 B.C. which show wine and culture emerging together within a true civilization. Darioush and his wife, Shahpar, immigrated to the United States in search of their dream and found it in 1997 when they opened up Darioush Winery. A place they could share their culture, hospitality, love of life, art, beautiful wines, and scenery.
We reserved the Fine Wine Artisan Cheese tour about two weeks in advance to make sure it wouldn’t be sold out. This was the perfect tour for us since we wanted to tour the winery and we do love to hear about wine and food pairings! Our tour guide, Chris, greeted us at the door and gave us a tour of the indoor tasting room and the art and decor inside. The beauty and elegance of the tasting room with high ceilings and large pillars, waterfall feature, bright yellow and orange walls, statues, paintings, and marble bar is just breathtaking! There was a lot of history here and I can feel I was being immersed in Persian culture by learning about the meaning of each piece of art in the room. I am not the biggest history buff but was very intrigued by all the information that built a civilization so long ago and now brought to modern times.
Chris poured us a glass of Rosé as we headed outside to check out the vineyard. As we walked past the beautiful gardens, fountains, pools of water, and palm trees, I imagined how it would be to live this amazing lifestyle each day. And just being here, there was an energy that possessed my mind and soul as we approached the vineyard. Beautifully manicured rows of grapevines with the dusty, sunlit mountains as backdrop will literally make your jaw drop! The vines were all trimmed and tucked into the wires above to expose all the lush fruit so the sun can kiss each grape and help it to ripen. It is fun to see the vineyard especially when you know that the final outcome after harvest will be amazing wines in the bottle!
Heading back into the winery, we walked through the outside auditorium used for music, concerts, and other entertainment for wine club members and charities that Darioush and Shahpar donate to each year. Lined by palm trees, it would be the perfect place to see and hear some great music! The next door led us inside to the wine barrel room filled with the grape offerings of previous years harvests. Rows of barrels stacked one on top of another, aging and waiting to be bottled for you to enjoy at home. Then we toured Darioush’s wine cellar filled with many of his favorite wines, collector’s wines, and some vintage wines from his own estate. A very regal looking room with a long table already prepared for a royal tasting or the next upcoming event at the winery. I would have loved to spend the whole weekend browsing Darioush’s wine collection but now we are going to taste some wonderful Darioush wines back in the tasting room!
There is an elegant bar area in the tasting room but we got lucky and were able to reserve a private table by the fireplace near the tasting bar. We did the Portfolio Wine Flight which had a list of wines we thought would say a lot about the winemaker’s style. Chris was able to pour five wines for us beginning with the 2017 Signature Viognier. Vibrant tropical and floral notes on the nose leads to bright citrus, Asian Pear, apricot, and ripe peach flavors across the palate. Beautifully balanced, dry, with a juicy long finish. 93 mouthwatering points and about $48 a bottle. Next was the 2016 Signature Chardonnay which was a wonderful blend of Chardonnay grapes from four different Napa Valley vineyards. Aroma’s of apple, pear, and exotic floral notes entices you to taste straight away! Medium bodied across the palate, balanced, with a velvety mouthfeel. Rich flavors of ripe pear, Honeycrisp apple, and lively tropical fruit fills my senses. This is the time when my taste buds are happiest! On the second sip, more ripe apple came through with hints of baking spices and toasted hazelnut flavors because of the influence of the French oak fermentation and aging. 91 Points and average of $48 a bottle.
Feeling good and heading on to the Darioush red wines…2014 Napa Valley Signature Merlot is actually a blend of 84% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot. Powerful yet inviting on the nose with aroma’s of ripe plum, blackberry jam, and bakers spices! Full bodied, concentrated, with refined tannins. Bold flavors of dark forest berries, juicy red plum, and seductive cinnamon spice. Tasting again brought hints of earth, mocha, and an elegant oak finish. Wonderfully complex and enticing! 92 Points and average of $58 a bottle.
I am always craving a good Shiraz and the Darioush 2014 Napa Valley Signature Shiraz has been ingeniously brought before me. 100% Shiraz from the Napa Valley and Oak Knoll regions and aged predominantly in French oak barrels. Violet color in my glass and very dense! Alluring aroma’s stewed raspberries, blackberries, chocolate, and oak. Full bodied across the palate, lush and velvety, with a beautiful tannin structure. Provocative flavors of ripe black currant, dark berries, espresso, and spice. Wonderfully layered with a plethora of tantalizing flavors! On the second sip, more dark berries came through along with notes of decadent chocolate, anise, and a long, spicy oak finish. Luxurious and Amorous. 95 Points and around $78 a bottle.
The Grand Finale was tasting the 2015 Napa Valley Signature Cabernet Sauvignon and it was a treat worth waiting for. This wine is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon at 81% with 10% Merlot, 5% Malbec, 2% Petite Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. Rich violet colors in the glass followed by intoxicating aromas of dark berries, cherry, plum, and cigar box on the nose. Full bodied, concentrated and dense, with an elegant tannin structure across the palate. Glorious flavors of ripe blackberry, black cherry, tobacco, and exotic spices. Later, notes of black olive and tea came through leading to a lingering sweet oak finish. Bravo! Complex Cabernet with many layers that can change with every savory sip. Definitely one to drink now if decanting or age through til 2029. 96 Points and around $104 a bottle.
I honestly do “Tour the World Through Wine” and truly enjoy the times where I can get out and visit a winery firsthand. Darioush Winery has the immaculate wines, scenic views, history, and elegance of a winery I would love to call “My Napa Valley Home Base”. The Concierge and employees are friendly, knowledgeable, fun, and they go out of their way to treat you like royalty. So put Darioush on your list the next time you visit Napa Valley and also request you local wine merchant to stock Darioush wines for you. Either way, you will not be disappointed. Cheers!