Perfecting the old California classics, Robert Biale Vineyards has become a revered standard of heritage vineyard Zinfandel and Petite Sirah in the Napa Valley. From the winery’s inception, the Biale Founders have cherished the tradition of historic old vines (some dating to the 1880s!) and prize the small quantity of concentrated and intense fruit that they produce. Diligent farming, expressive terroir, and superb elegance are the winery’s hallmarks. Among the winery’s portfolio of 20 wines that Winemaker David Natali crafts, Black Chicken Zinfandel is the flagship–and has become a benchmark for the varietal.

It all started in the 1940s when 14-year-old Aldo Biale helped his mother make ends meet by selling to insider Napans–along with eggs and produce–some of the family’s homemade Zinfandel. Over the old “party line” phone system, the code words “a Black Chicken” signified a jug of bootleg wine…and kept nosy neighbors and the authorities from finding out about Aldo’s underground Zinfandel operation!

“This is a new age for Zinfandel. We know now that Zinfandel is an ancient grape whose origin was along the Adriatic coast and goes back centuries in Central Europe. Old vines and historic sites in California that have been overlooked and under-appreciated are enjoying new respect among wine students and wine lovers. We and our peer group of devout Zinfandel winemakers are taking this old California classic to new heights. We all know that Zinfandel, when treated expertly on proven historic sites, produces red wines that are loaded with character that hold their own among the world’s more famous European varieties. And let’s just say it: Zinfandel provides more smiles per bottle than any other red wine! Period.” – Dave Pramuk