- Rating: 92 out of 100
- Tasting Fee: $40 or Free with 2-bottle purchase
- Accepts Reservations: Yes
- Reservation Required: No, but recommended
Napa, CA 94558
There are many beautiful places in the world where you can drink fantastic wine. One of the reasons Napa Valley remains a top wine vacation destination is the diversity of its wineries, from the styles and varietals produced, to the architecture and feel of the winery itself. Darioush is a prime example of that diversity. When people ask me to refer them to a beautiful, culturally inspired winery with solid wines that reflect that culture, Darioush is one of the first that come to mind.
Definitely one of the classier establishments I have been to in Napa – once you drive through the gated entrance and park, you walk past columns and a fountain, up to a building whose exterior is shaped like the ancient Persians ones of old. Though when you enter the building, you feel as if you’ve entered a chic, boutique, high-class winery. The host/hostess will welcome your party at the entrance with a sample of the Sauvignon Blanc and encourage you to explore the blend of Persian history with classy interior design. Although the winery has a formal feel, it is actually a great environment for those looking to enjoy an easy, laid-back tasting with spicier red wines. I definitely recommend making a reservation though to guarantee quick seating and a corner location with couches, rather than being asked to sit on awkward seats at the bar.
Darioush leverages its terroir and has Shiraz (also known as Syrah) play a signifant role in its lineup to deliver a bold wine lineup that emphasizes spice as its differentiator. Combined with the art/architecture, it’s hard not to imagine that you’ve been transported to somewhere near the Mediterranean. The white wines feel like a cool breeze that quench your thirst in a cool crisp fashion, making it a nice complement to the spicier reds. Our lineup was the following:
- 2016 Sauvignon Blanc ($52)
- If you show up to your reservation early, they will serve this as an apertif
- 2016 Chardonnay ($48)
- 2014 Merlot ($58)
- 2015 Duel ($60)
- A near 50/50 blend of their Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2014 Shiraz ($78)
- 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon ($105)
- 96-98pts Wine Advocate - Good rating at the price point
If you ever find a glass of their Darius II (the crown jewel of the estate) at some point in your life, consider yourself lucky. As I mentioned before, all of the reds have an exotic spiciness and wood integrated into them to some degree. These are wines that are definitely better in the winter time than the summer, but their complexity and reflection of the terroir / the owner is quite striking. This reflection may do better in some wines (their Cabernet, Shiraz, and Duel) than others (their Merlot).
All in all, a good tasting experience to casually enjoy the ambiance and conversation with friends! I personally think their Chardonnay is above average as well, but I walked away with two bottles of the Cabernet Sauvignon while others took the Chardonnay, Shiraz, and Duel. Even if you only wanted the Chardonnay, it was buy one ($48), get one for $8 because of the waived tasting fee. I always have this place in my back pocket for a rainy day (literally) and recommend groups stop by that want a little culture and relaxation with their wine!
Rating: 92 out of 100