Zin-Centric Robert Biale Vineyards Expands Collection
Robert Biale Vineyards recently released several wines from the outstanding 2005 vintage to members of their mailing list. These are the first wines that the Biale Family made in their new production facilities located in the Oak Knoll AVA.
Establishing a physical winery has been a long time coming for the Biales. The family has been growing grapes in Napa Valley for decades, but only recently navigated the regulatory and permit maze that is required to open a bonded winery. Prior to opening the new facility, Biale wines were made at Hendry Winery at the base of the Western Mayacamas Mountains.
The 2005 vintage is shaping up to be an excellent one throughout California. The vines got plenty of water in the winter, followed by a moderate spring. The grapes developed very methodically and were ripened by a late heat wave in September. In other words, 2005 was about as good as it gets for Zinfandel – Biale’s specialty.
That said, the winery is becoming less Zin-centric and offers a number of varietals in their recent release. These include the 2005 Black Chicken Zinfandel, 2005 Old Crane Ranch Zinfandel, 2005 Party Line Zinfandel, 2005 Grande Zinfandel, 2004 Hill Climber Pilgrimage Syrah, 2004 Thomann Station Petite Sirah, 2005 Nonna’s Sangiovese, and 2006 Pollo Bianco Sauvignon Blanc.
The Biale Family’s best known wine is probably their Black Chicken Zinfandel. In the decades following the repeal of Prohibition, and before the renaissance years of the late 1960s and 1970s, there were very few operating wineries in Napa Valley. During those years, Aldo Biale made homemade wine and sold it to locals under the codename “Black Chicken.” Aldo’s son, Robert, names his flagship Zinfandel after this piece of family history.