An elegant salute to the Middle East captivates with exquisite wines, food, and architecture
It’s hard to not be impressed when you see the 16 towering columns lining the entry to this opulent winery – they soar 18-feet up to the clouds and are crowned with carved, double-headed horses.
You pass through the rows, up to an imposing travertine-clad building, where your concierge may tell you that the stone was quarried near the region of Persepolis, then exported to Turkey and Italy for cutting and tumbling before landing at the Silverado Trail property in Napa.
Inside, the mood is a contemporary mix, with more carved columns and stone walls, yet also sleek leather couches, glittering pendant lights, and glass walls looking into the fermentation tank room. Take a peek into the downstairs barrel cellar, too, where the fine wines age basking in the glow of soothing amber lighting.
The 22,000 square foot winery is unique, certainly, a reflection of owner Darioush Khaledi, who left a successful engineering career in his native Iran, moved to California, and founded his namesake winery in 1998.
He and his wife, Shahpar Khaledi, designed an elaborate homage to their Persian culture and roots, which was finally completed in 2004.
The property stretches 120-acres, spanning the saddle of Southern Napa from high atop Mount Veeder to Oak Knoll and south of Stag’s Leap.
Beyond its premium vineyards, the estate is well-known for its architectural retreats, where guest gather for high-end events such as periodic al fresco lunches and dinners in the garden, elevated wine and food pairings, tastings in a luxuriously stocked cellar, and intimate concerts in the boutique-style amphitheater.
Specializing in Bordeaux style estate wines, the flagship is Cabernet Sauvignon, alongside small lots of Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Merlot.
You can taste in the lounge in front of a fireplace flanked by lifesize Persian warrior statues, or at the glass-topped bar.
Explore the Signature Mezze tasting, for a flight of Cabernet Sauvignon and other signature wines, paired with Persian roasted pistachios and ($90) and other Middle Eastern nibbles like skewered meats and vegetables, and savory dips.
Good to Know
Estate Chef Sean Massey has worked with many top restaurants, including Chef Morimoto’s global team, and two Michelin-starred restaurants in the Napa Valley, Redd and Auberge du Soleil.
Admire the labels on the hallmark Darius II Cabernet Sauvignons, different for each vintage. They are stunning representations of fabrics, rugs, and timeless art pieces that are curated through the Victoria and Albert Museum’s extensive Middle Eastern art collections.
To Sum Up
For all its palatial glory, Darioush isn’t stuffy. It’s fun to get caught up in the theater and flair of a family-owned tribute to royalty and revelry.