Once inside, you are welcomed into the hustle and bustle by an attractive concierge. You are directed to an empty spot at the tasting counter or to a private area where another smartly dressed
attendant will greet you; before your wines arrives is the perfect opportunity to feast your eyes on the palatial beauty of the Tasting Room and its ambassadors.
It amazes me how busy Darioush always is, but it never feels chaotic. The Darioush staff interacts with each other and the customers as if this were a ballet performance; it's an elegant experience provided by knowledgeable professionals (no dance attire, but no jeans, blue hair, or visible tattoos either).
The second time I visited Darioush in March 2009, I noticed a great improvement in the wines.
I really enjoyed the Pinot Noir and the Merlot and even the Chardonnay. Although Darioush is among many Napa Valley producers that bottle Syrah, Darioush is the only winery that I know of in the state of California (in the country maybe?) that calls it Shiraz.
In Australia, it's Shiraz. In America, it's usually referred to as Syrah. It's technically the same grape but it tastes differently depending on where it's grown. And Persians believe they were the original growers of this particular varietal, where they refer to it as Shiraz, too. But when I think of the more subtle differences between Shiraz and Syrah, tannin structure immediately c
omes to mind. The Australian version of this wine is always much bigger and tannic (sometimes with chunky, chalky, or ill-integrated tannins) than the American Syrah. So when I tasted the Darioush "Shiraz", I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth and approachable it was.
Most recently, I liked all of the wines I tasted at Darioush. The "Duel" (a Cab/Shiraz
blend, something that you won't see at any other winery) is still too tannic for my taste buds, but the Merlot (so opulent and plummy), the Cabernet Sauvignon (sturdy yet fruit-forward but a little pricey for my current income), and the Viognier (refreshing and delicious) stole my heart!
We stocked up on the Merlot and the Viognier, which in a good economy sells out by Labor Day. With a floral nose that leads to a medium body of tropical and stone fruits, and slightly sweet finish, this Viognier rivals any German Spatlese or even the fuller flavored Auslese. I highly recommend taking a bottle of the Darioush Viognier to Go Fish Restaurant in St. Helena. This is the perfect wine for sushi!