2011 Robert Biale "Black Chicken" Napa Valley Zinfandel
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Good bright medium red. Perfumed aromas of red berries, spices and pungent orange zest. Juicy, spicy and bright if on the lean side; distinctly more red-fruity than the darker 2010 version. Finishes with a slightly green-peppery quality but very good spicy cut and length. I never would have guessed this wine was carrying 15.8% alcohol.
Robert Biale knows Zin. Since 1937, the Biale family has grown Zinfandel along with assorted other varieties on their farm just outside the town of Napa. Their Zins are famous for a certain breed of intensity and power- the kind you get when you restrict yields to only the best, most concentrated, fully ripe fruit each vintage. "Black Chicken" gets its name from Aldo Biale, who used the name as a code word when he started making the wine on the sly in the '40s and didn't want other members of his family to know. Black Chicken is primarily sourced from Biale's Oak Knoll District ranch estate. Aged for fourteen months in 25% new French oak, the 2011 is everything we like in Zin and then some - inky dark in color, with aromas and flavors of ripe blackberry, baked plum, cherry, and molasses, with accents of clove, vanilla, and white pepper. It's a full-bodied, hedonistic style, but wears the weight well. Enjoy with a hearty beef or game dish.