The majority of the people that I talk wine with, don’t usually put Darioush Winery and Viognier in the same sentence; most people think of their rich red wines. For the last hundred days or so, I have put on my miner’s helmet with the lamp on it, and have gone excavating in the cellar, as I have decided to bring the cellar up to a more recent set of vintages, though there are still some special wines down there and the right occasion will be found and we will be prepared. My Bride has been above the call of duty, trying out new recipes, as she slowly finds what she has put away in the freezers in anticipation of big family parties and events which were outlawed, at least in our state. One can always be guaranteed that our dishes will be spicy as we both enjoy food with a tang, and I think that subconsciously our wines have been purchased with our culinary likes in mind.
We have only been to Napa Valley once, as strange as that sounds, but when we have two children and five grandchildren in Las Vegas, it is hard to get farther west then there, and Darioush Winery was not on the landscape and Silverado Trail was far less dramatic. The winery was established in 1997 by Darioush Khaledi and is considered one of the places to visit both for its dramatic interpretation of Persian architecture, but also for the consistently high marks that the Signature Series of wines have earned almost immediately. Darioush Khaledi was born and raised in Iran, and his father made wine as a hobby. He immigrated to America in the Seventies a founded a successful grocery chain called KV Mart. While celebrating his Twentieth wedding anniversary, he and his wife visited Napa Valley and discovered California wines, and he decided to buy land and start a winery. One has to look beyond his regal visitor’s center and tasting rooms to discover that he owns vineyards in the Oak Knoll and Mount Veeder AVAs in Napa Valley. The vineyards are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc. These are used to produce his many Signature series wine and his blends, as well as his flagship wine Darius II Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines immediately attracted Robert Parker who has always shown favor for the big and jammy wines that Napa Valley does so well.
The Darioush Winery Viognier Napa Valley 2001 was made before the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley was granted an AVA in 2004. Oak Knoll has been recognized for having cooler temperatures and a potentially longer growing season, while maintaining the critical acidity of the grapes. The wine is pure Viognier and they use whole cluster pressing and the juice goes directly to the sixty-gallon French Oak barrels for the primary fermentation. The wine was then topped and inoculated for malolactic fermentation, and then aged for seven months Sur-lies with minimum handling. This bottle I had found far from the other white wines, because it is one of the heavier and thicker glass bottles that a lot of winery use to denote all around quality, and the bottle did not fit into my rack structure and was forgotten about and we had probably bought it when it had just been issued, along with some other wines from Darioush Winery. We did not know what to expect and my Bride was ready to give me the evil eye that we had lost a wine from a great house. Lo and behold, this wine was still fresh with fruit and the nose was still aromatic with floral fragrances that I just adore about Viognier. Maybe ten or fifteen years earlier, the wine might have been more vibrant, but there was nothing wrong with this wine for a nineteen-year-old, in fact it was better than some red wines of that age, that I have had over the years.