Robert Biale Vineyards

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Perfecting the old California classics, Robert Biale Vineyards has become a revered standard of heritage Vineyard Zinfandel and Petite Sirah in Napa Valley. Napa natives, school chums, and winery Founders, Bob Biale and Dave Pramuk, cherish the tradition of historic old vines (some dating to the 1880’s!) and prize the small quantity of concentrated and intense fruit that they produce. Diligent farming, expressive terroir, and superb elegance are the winery’s hallmarks. 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.

 

It all started in the 1940’s when 14 year-old Aldo Biale helped his mother to make ends meet by selling to insider Napans – along with eggs and produce -some of the family’s homemade Zinfandel. Over the old “party line” phone system, the code words “a Black Chicken” signified a jug of bootleg wine…and kept nosy neighbors and the authorities from finding out about Aldo’s underground Zinfandel operation!

“This is a new age for Zinfandel. We know now that Zinfandel is an ancient grape whose origin was along the Adriatic coast and goes back centuries in Central Europe. Old vines and historic sites in California that have been overlooked and under-appreciated are enjoying new respect among wine students and wine lovers. We and our peer group of devout Zinfandel winemakers are taking this old California classic to new heights. We all know that Zinfandel, when treated expertly on proven historic sites, produces red wines that are loaded with character that hold their own among the world’s more famous European varieties. And let’s just say it: Zinfandel provides more smiles per bottle than any other red wine! Period.”  – Dave Pramuk

The Winemaker

 

Tres Goetting is a 26 year veteran Napa Valley enologist and viticulturalist who has already made his mark and fine reputation at a few Napa Valley wineries, but he looks to Biale as his career “moment in the spotlight”.

 

Tres first paid his dues as a teenaged “cellar rat” in 1987. Then, following college and armed with a razor-sharp palate, took steady steps to move up – hand-crafting wines at three touted Napa Valley grower/producers. Now he has stepped up again to find his ideal niche at Biale.

 

Tres works in harmony with Biale’s vineyards guru, Bob Biale, to co-manage and fully understand the intricacies of each of Biale’s vineyards – hands on. Unleashing the full potential and ultimate expression of each unique vineyard is the winery’s goal, which is why winemaking at Biale is such an ideal situation for Tres. He couldn’t be happier, and Bob Biale appreciates having a fellow vineyards/ “vit” guy help to size up these older and sometimes quirky Zinfandel vineyards with their dry farming, deep roots, big trunks, and sometimes – mixed varieties.

 

Says Tres, “I believe in minimalistic vinification techniques in the winery. I feel that it is best to focus efforts in the vineyard to get things right so that the wines do not require a lot of attention and will ultimately speak of the vineyards from which they were grown.”

 

As for Zinfandel in particular, Tres has a special fascination, “I love Zinfandel because it is a mysterious varietal that never ceases to amaze.”

Copywright 2019            The Wine Visa  

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