Perfecting the old California classics, Robert Biale Vineyards has become a revered standard of heritage Vineyard Zinfandel and Petite Sirah in Napa Valley.
Robert Biale's father, Aldo, needed to supplement the ranch income after the passing of his father. That's when Aldo learned to make wine from his Uncle Angelo. He sold his jugs of Zin to friends and neighbours on the "down-low," and the phone started ringing regularly for re-orders. The Biale's phone was a party line, so nosy neighbours could listen in on conversations, including orders for produce, eggs, and a jug of Aldo's homemade wine from barrels he hid in the barn. Then, as of now, any commercial activity involving alcohol was highly regulated by government agencies of various acronyms, and any violation of federal, state, or local regulations was severely penalized. So Aldo needed a way to keep the orders coming over the party line without divulging his clandestine wine operation.
Aldo's ranch was known for its legions of white leghorn chickens for laying eggs and serving for supper. Perhaps it was not much of a stretch for the 14-year-old Aldo to look to them for the code name for his secret wine. So that there would be no confusion, he changed the colour and dubbed a jug of his inky dark Zinfandel Black Chicken. Soon phone calls started coming over the party line with customers requesting, for example, "2 dozen eggs, some zucchini, prunes, walnuts and a Black Chicken."
94 Points - Wine Enthusiast
The producer’s marquee wine and a nod to its long-standing ties to farming, this is fresh and earthy in notes of crushed rock, slate, dried herb and black pepper. The fruit is layered and sumptuous in flavours of raspberry and black cherry, while supple tannins and a hint of toasted oak provide framing.