I went to a Darioush wine tasting last Friday. What a delight! I found every bottle we tasted to be exceptional. Darioush is well-known for their Bordeaux styled wines so I was already familiar with both the Darioush "Signature" and the Estate Caravan Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. They are both highly rated and consistently good. The Caravan is the lower priced of the two and is something that I keep in stock at home. The wines in the line up for the evening were all from Napa Valley and included:
2008 Signature Viognier, 2005 Signature Chardonnay, 2005 Signature Merlot, 2007 Signature Shiraz, 2007 Estate Caravan Cabernet Sauvignon, and both the 2006 & 2007 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2007 was opened by mistake which was a bonus to all who were present.
The Viognier varietal has been hit and miss for me at tastings in the past but this offering was an absolute stand out. It was very fragrant with floral notes of jasmine and orange blossom and even stronger aromas of tangerine and mandarin orange with hints of nutmeg. It had refreshing flavors of nectarine, cantaloupe and lemon zest that were balanced with a tart acidity that still left a lingering peach cobbler finish. This wine is going to make me bring home my first bottle of Viognier.
Their "Signature" Chardonnay has been added to my husband's list of chardonnays that have "pleasantly surprised" him. It was definitely not his over-oaked expectation; it was creamy lemon pie with a hint of mineralty and an acidic citrus with a side of caramel apple finish.
The Shiraz was another one that I must purchase for our home as it had quite a bit going on. Pomegranate, blackberry and clove aromas with flavors of blackberry and beef with a bit of chocolate coffee in a long finish. It truly had all the flavors of a complete meal in the glass.
The Merlot and all of the Cabernets were exceptional as well. In comparing the Cabernets, I preferred the "Signature" to the "Caravan" but there is also a $40+ price difference. In comparing the two years of the "Signature", the 2007 was my preference; it seemed to have a little more going on and a smoother or silkier finish.
Overall, I am very impressed with all of the Darioush line that I have tried thus far. I just learned that they have a Cabernet/Shiraz blend named "Duel" that I am looking forward to trying next.