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 neighbors on the “down low”, and the phone started ringing regularly for re-orders. The Biale’s phone was a party line, so nosy neighbors 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 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."
Sourced primarily from Biale's estate vineyards in the Oak Knoll district, this wine is round and plush with a gentle grip of perfectly ripe tannins. A spectrum of red and dark fruits, raspberries, cherries, blackberries, bright vivid aromas, fine-grained texture, star anise, black and white pepper, cocoa, subtle nuanced oak. Age-worthy, compelling, decadent: a beautifully proportioned Napa Valley Zinfandel.
92 Points Wilfred Wong of Wine.com... The 2019 Robert Biale Vineyards Black Chicken Zinfandel is lively and packed on the palate. This wine shows up with excellent aromas and flavours of red and blue fruits. A touch of oak adds to the wine's complexity. Enjoy it with grilled baby back ribs.