Robert Biale Vineyards Black Chicken Zinfandel 2014 Front Label
Robert Biale Vineyards Black Chicken Zinfandel 2014 Front LabelRobert Biale Vineyards Black Chicken Zinfandel 2014 Front Bottle ShotRobert Biale Vineyards Black Chicken Zinfandel 2014 Back Bottle Shot

Robert Biale Vineyards Black Chicken Zinfandel 2014

  • RP94
  • WW92
  • W&S91
750ML / 14% ABV
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  • JS93
  • WW92
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4.0 7 Ratings
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4.0 7 Ratings
750ML / 14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Plump, juicy, and firm, this one is irresistible bird- a Zinfandel brimming with fruit, spices, and an Oak Knoll District perfume of concentrated blackberry compote, bright raspberries, clove, five spice, black tea toasted brioche, and notes of caramel and vanilla. Voluptuous, gentle, and yummy as it is, this freshly-bottled wonder has the stuffing for the long haul and is just getting started.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Lastly, the 2014 Zinfandel Black Chicken (its name coming from the code name used when ordering a jug of Zinfandel during the Prohibition era) is another relatively big-boned Zinfandel at 15.3% alcohol. Gorgeously proportioned, textured and almost chewy, this stunningly hedonistic and fleshy, flamboyant Zinfandel delivers abundant glycerin, fruit, quality and personality. Drink it over the next 7-8 years.
WW 92
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
According to my tasting journals, with thousands of wine notes over the decades, Robert Biale Vineyards has often made some of the very best Zinfandels. The 2012 Black Chicken— one of my consistent favorites—is a big, rich red wine, with plenty of oomph. Its combination of red and blue fruits, tar and earth, and sweet tannins makes it a perfect treat with BBQ brisket. (Tasted: February 25, 2016, San Francisco, CA)
W&S 91
Wine & Spirits
As a teenager in the 1940s, Aldo Biale began selling zinfandel from vines his late father had planted in the flatlands just above the town of Napa. His mother’s phone was a party line, so he had to hide the fact he was selling wine without a license when he took orders for the family’s produce, chicken and the jug wine he made in the barn. He started calling it Gallo Nero, the symbol for wine in Chianti, which eventually morphed into calls for “black chicken,” jugs he’d deliver in his 1940 Studebaker sedan. In 1991, Aldo helped his son found Robert Biale Vineyards, which makes legal zin from the same vines—dating to 1937—along with successive plantings and a neighboring vineyard in Oak Knoll. This 2014 has the plumpness of ripe cherries, with deep, earthy richness edged in the warmth of alcohol and some dimpled fruit. There’s a sweet scent of Manzanita that places it firmly in Napa Valley.
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Robert Biale Vineyards

Robert Biale Vineyards

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Robert Biale Vineyards, California
Robert Biale Vineyards Robert Biale Vineyards Patio Winery Image

Perfecting the old California classics, Robert Biale Vineyards has become a revered standard of heritage Vineyard Zinfandel and Petite Sirah in Napa Valley. Among the winery’s portfolio of 20 wines that are crafted by winemaker Tres Goetting, Black Chicken Zinfandel is the flagship – and has become a benchmark for the varietal.

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 color and dubbed a jug of his inky dark Zinfandel Gallina Nera–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 Gallo Nero.” The punch-down stick and picker’s box that he used in those early decades of production are currently on display at the Food and Wine exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

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Undoubtedly proving its merit over and over, Napa Valley is a now a leading force in the world of prestigious red wine regions. Though Cabernet Sauvignon dominates Napa Valley, other red varieties certainly thrive here. Important but often overlooked include Merlot and other Bordeaux varieties well-regarded on their own as well as for their blending capacities. Very old vine Zinfandel represents an important historical stronghold for the region and Pinot noir is produced in the cooler southern parts, close to the San Pablo Bay.

Perfectly situated running north to south, the valley acts as a corridor, pulling cool, moist air up from the San Pablo Bay in the evenings during the hot days of the growing season, which leads to even and slow grape ripening. Furthermore the valley claims over 100 soil variations including layers of volcanic, gravel, sand and silt—a combination excellent for world-class red wine production.

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STC717923_2014 Item# 153966

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