The Biale family, immigrants from Northern Italy, began growing grapes in Napa in the 1930’s – Zinfandel only. Zinfandel, California’s adopted grape, was widely planted by immigrants throughout the State’s history as a highly flavorful red grape well-suited for the climate. Each harvest, the Biale’s fruit was routinely sold for bulk wine. For decades before the global demand for Napa Valley wine, one winery, the Napa Valley Co-Op winery, processed almost half of Napa’s grapes. Before big companies moved in, most of Napa’s fruit was grown by local farmers like the Biales. In fact, prunes and walnuts were as valuable as grapes in those days, and the Biale farm produced its share along with eggs and vegetables.
Committed to the tradition of farming grapes, the Biales decided in 1991 to form a partnership with the goal of producing a world-class wine from the oldest Zinfandel vines on the ranch. The team: Al Perry, winemaking; Dave Pramuk, Marketing; Aldo and Bob Biale farming. The wine, named after longtime farmer Aldo Biale, was called “Aldo’s Vineyard”.
The inaugural wine was a quantity of 400 cases produced from about 8 acres of 60-year-old vines. Now, twelve years later, Biale is recognized internationally as being among California’s very finest producers of Zinfandel.
Today, a family of wines of distinctly different personalities is produced, with the goal of capturing the ultimate expressions of their sites. Each wine is vineyard designated only in years when it is outstanding. Wines not grown on the Biale ranch are from grapes grown through farming contracts with small independent growers in Napa, Sonoma, Lodi and Contra Costa. In several cases, vineyards are parcels adjacent to the owner’s home. This involves the Biale/Perry tandem going beyond the normal “tons per acre” agreements to the extent of specifying farming techniques on each site and working personally with the growers to do the careful handwork necessary to ensure uniformly ripe and mature bunches of grapes. Good wines are made but great wines are grown.
Biale’s richness, refinement, elegance and balance make the wines a memorable experience with a diverse range of food. And while the wines will age gracefully, Zinfandel is one of the best wines for drinking young.
Robert Biale Zinfandel Stagecoach 2006
This new 2006 version is our best yet showing layers of brilliant black cherry, Santa Rosa plum, and blackberry fruit character, long flavors, a seamless texture, and sturdy age-worthy structure. Surprisingly civilized for a mountain-born Zin, optimum drinking time will be in 3 to 6 years. Just 792 cases made.
Robert Biale Zinfandel Black Chicken 2007
Big flavors of mixed warm berries, black cherries, round tannins, mulling spices and a touch of pepper, and toasty vanilla. A comforting sipper or served with smokey barbecue, burgers, pizza, or hearty pasta, savoring Napa Valley Zinfandel this good is memorable. For added softness and aromatics, stash a few bottles in a cool cellar for 2-3 years.
Robert Biale Petite Sirah Royal Punishers 2006
Deep dark color, juicy black currants and blueberry fruit, firm tannins, affinity for food and age ability. Inky dark but made in a sophisticated and polished style this preadolescent Petite Sirah will continue to improve for 7 to 10 years easy. Just 756 cases made.