Monday, December 27, 2010

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon from Darioush

Darioush Winery is one of the most spectacular wineries in Napa Valley. You just can’t miss it when driving on Silverado Trail in the southern part of the valley. Its pillars, copied from the famous Persian palace Persepolis from 500 BC, are dazzling white in the sunshine, and reveals either insanity, or heritage. In this case, you have to settle for heritage, bcause that what is is. Founder Darioush Khaledi was born in the town of Shiraz in what way back in time was known to be Persia, but had to leave his homeland in 1976. Los Angeles became his new home, and together his nephew he started a market to make a living. Two decades later this market had turned into a huge business (KW Mart) with 20 supermarkets and more than 1 500 employees!
His passion for fine wines nourished as his fortune grew, and instead of looking for a château in Bordeaux (which was his initial plan), he found a vineyard in Napa Valley that he bought in 1997. There was no winery at that time – the ground for it was broken the year after, and believe it or not, all stones were brought back from his homeland, Iran. That’s dedication and pride. Like it or not. I do like it.
Steve Devitt was appointed as winemaker, and that was a smart move. If someone knew about the terroir in this corner of Napa Valley, it was Steve. He worked in Napa Valley since mid 80s, and was at the winemaker at neighbor winery Signorello until he came over to Darioush. Production today has reached more than 10 000 cases, of which the cabernet wine is the by far most important.

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon / 93-95 p
I’ve been following Darioush since their inaugural vintage. This cabernet may well be the finest yet produced from this so promising winery. The 2007 vintage is a blend of 85 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, seven percent Merlot, five percent Cabernet Franc and only three percent Malbec, as always only estate grown fruit and from two sites: the main source is the vineyards in Oak Knoll close to the winery, the rest comes from Mount Veeder. I don’t know for sure, and I might be wrong, but it seems like the share from Mount Veeder is more significant in this vintage compared to most of the previous ones. At least, this is what the palate tells me. The intense, dark and for the vintage so typical ripe and rich but still so elegant fruit is perfectly wrapped around a very serious structure of huge but ripe tannins, and there are plenty of mineral qualities from the well drained volcanic soil up on Mount Veeder. Tasted it directly from the bottle, it was tannic and closed and to be honest not so easy to enjoy. Leaving it in the decanter for another hour it started to open up, a bit. So I left it for another hour, and then another hour, and then it blossomed in my Riedel glass. It’s recommended to do either so, or to keep the bottles in your cellar for a few more years. Although I just love the wine today, I’d rather keep it a few more years to not only soften the tannins, but also see the rising of the first secondary aromas. I can’t wait for that day to come!
From being so closed and "hard to see the greatness in it" for a few hours, I later just loved every sniff and sip of the wine. Still dense, firm and marked by its huge structure, it’s a very fine wine indeed – it just need some time. You will find some sweet cassis and blueberry notes on the nose and on the palate, in that sense the wine is ripe and rich, but the structure and lingering aftertaste, in which complex notes of lead pencil shows up, is serious, very serious.
Drink it 2013-2027.

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