One of my most favorite wine memories was a wine dinner I did with the Napa Valley winery, Darioush. Thankfully, my position as the Wine Director allowed me countless tastes of their amazing wines that night. Oh?what a tough job that was!
Singling out just one of the wines is utterly unjust, as they are all top notch efforts every vintage. However, the one that I was most enthralled with that night was the Viognier. A lot of people have no idea about Viognier (VEE-o-nay).
This effort from Darioush is very much on the rich side of the spectrum. The unctuous, seamless texture travels along the palate caressing and seducing each taste bud to have another sip or gulp. The aromas of peach, honeysuckle, yellow apple, cedar & vanilla are only intensified within the mouth once imbibed. This is a very vibrant & floral wine that has a touch of sweetness and may be considered sweet my many although it clocks in at very low percentage of residual sugar (sugar that remains in the wine even after fermentation).
This is a wine that pairs amazingly with Thai food, sushi, full flavored fish (tuna, sea bass, salmon, hebi, tombo) and spicy foods. It is rather difficult to locate and is only made in small production, i.e. less than 1500 cases per vintage. But it is a gem and should be enjoyed on special occasions
. . . Unless you have a sugar momma or daddy who treats you well.
It hasn?t quite struck the consumer?s palate as an everyday wine. The Darioush Viognier, perhaps, is not an everyday wine simply just from its hefty price of $30. Most domestic Viogniers will come in at about $15-20. Much of this varietal is also grown in Australia and the south of France. However, its native home is in the Rhone Valley where it produces a very highly regarded wine from the region of Condrieu. This grape also contributes a lot to white Cotes du Rhones and Chateauneuf du Papes.
A little background on Darioush: They are based in Napa Valley and produce all estate-grown, extremely high quality Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet, Shiraz. They recently added a Pinot Noir to their repertoire too. The owner, Darioush Khaledi, made his fortune initially as a supermarket tycoon. He spared no expense in acquiring a stellar property, and built a visitor center that makes most others pale in comparison. He actually constructed the building in Turkey prior to having it brought over to be rebuilt in Napa. Steve Devitt is the winemaker and brings a minimalist, hands-off approach to producing these outstanding and costly wines.