From one of the Biale family’s two original vineyards (and one of the last producing vineyards in the city of Napa), this is big, bold, old-vine zin. The “Black Chicken” name dates from Aldo Biale’s first venture in selling wine from the vineyard in the 1940s. To hide his activity from neighbors on his party line phone, Aldo’s customers ordered “a dozen black chickens” to get a case of wine. The black chicken code refers to the famous rooster crest used on Chianti Classico. The fruit hand-picked and hand sorted to ensure that only the best fruit makes it into the fermenter. The grapes are then crushed and gravity fed into open top tanks. The must is cold soaked for 2 to 4 days at 50°F.
We then inoculate the must with commercial yeast strains. For color and tannin extraction, we do 2 to 3 punch downs per day. Fermentation is usually complete after 14 to 16 days at a maximum temperature of 86°F. At dryness, we lightly press to 100% Burgundy oak barrels of which 20% are new. Malolactic fermentation is completed in the barrels. The wine was aged in barrels for fourteen months. Tasting Notes: The Oak Knoll Winegrowing region is prevalent in this wine with its ripe aromatis and juicy acidity. The nose is full of vibrant Bing cherries, raspberries, cinnamon, white cake, fresh purple flowers, subtle dried herb and toasty brown spices. The entry is bright and gives way to supple, round tannins. The lovely finish is the signature of this elegant and remarkable balanced Zinfandel that is immediately drinkable and worthy of 5-7 more years of cellar time.