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  • Writer's pictureWendy

Taste The Grapes

Updated: Nov 2, 2020

My wine journey has been an interesting one – when I first “started” drinking, white wine was the answer for me. I typically went to a Chardonnay or a Sauvignon Blanc. It is pretty unpopular these days to be a Chardonnay drinker – so I hear. But I just can’t help where my taste buds take me. Now that I am in my late 40's and have had some practice in the wine drinking arena, when I decide to drink white, it is still a Chardonnay. But when sharing wine with friends when out and about, we always meet in the middle and drink Sauv Blanc. I find Pinot Grigio’s so acidic and tangy when it touches my palate. The best way to make most people happy is to go with Sauv Blanc. It is always easy drinking and generally makes everyone happy.

I also love some Rosé – it’s a lovely day for Rosé, any day! (well, sometimes, but not always…). I am still relatively new to the Rosé department and so I don’t know too much about it, but I find it enjoyable most times I drink it. It reminds me of long ago when I drank White Zinfandel – which I know that Rosé is not! But the color of it looks like white zin did. Maybe it is a big marketing scheme to make us drink white zin again, but who really cares if it is. It is delish and it looks so pretty on a table. And my motto always is, if you like it, you should drink it! Everyone is different and you should do/drink/eat what makes you happy. But the homerun and my go to is ALWAYS RED! I know it stains my teeth, but I don’t care. I should, but I just don’t. It’s nothing a good brushing of the teeth with my electric toothbrush won’t take off before I hit the hay. So RED it is!

We had the pleasure of going to Napa Valley a few years back, and we were able to go to MANY wineries along the way, but one of them that we really loved was Biale. Biale was one of our favorites from the beginning. We had a driver take us around all day in a mini-van, because we like to practice safe-drinking and we NEVER get behind the wheel when we are drinking at all. We (my hubby and I) were with my folks, his folks and another couple whom are longtime family friends. So off we go around Napa and as you visit the wineries, you can use the spittoon (where you can spit out the wine if you don’t want to drink it), but the drinking of the wine WHILE tasting it is the part of the fun for me. So, I swallow (get your head out of the gutter!) - this also ensures you get the wine to the back of your palate where you get the full flavor of the wine . Yes, the act of swallowing also ensues with a nice happy wine buzz!! Visit enough wineries and the buzz just keeps getting better!

As we meandered along the Napa Valley roads, we ended up at Biale… and as we drove in and parked, there was a sign there, saying, “Watch for Black Chicken”. And as I am reading this in my “happy” fog and being I have some sort of dyslexia (this was never formally diagnosed, but I mix things up ALL the time, dial numbers the wrong way multiple times, you get the drift...), and I thought the sign said, “Watch for Black Children”!

I thought to myself and then and say out loud that I was unsure if we should go in this place – what kind of sign was this anyway??? What kind of people would put up a sign like that?!?!?! My family immediately rescued me from my miss-read brain and informed me of my error. Okay, it’s cool, we were going to be fine in there - so we were cleared to go in!

And go in we do. We sat outside under a portico and the wine expert came out and told us about the wines and we enjoyed a cool breeze, good company, and some Black Chicken! They told us the story about the “black chicken”: this was the code name that they used to order wine during prohibition. I did a little research, and it is partially true – here is an excerpt from their website: I heard that “Black Chicken” was some sort of secret term used during Prohibition. What is the story behind that name? That is partially correct. Black Chicken was an insider’s code of sorts for the Zinfandel that Aldo Biale used to sell as a young man in order to help make ends meet. However, it was in the era of the Great Depression that started in 1929 – the year that Aldo was born. Aldo’s father passed away at a young age in 1942, and Aldo as a teenager had to help run his parents’ farm which produced fruits, nuts, vegetables, plus lots of eggs and chickens. The interesting twist was that the family’s phone line in those days in rural Napa was called the “party line” an often awkward situation where houses shared the same phone. Since it was basically an open line, Aldo invented a password that his customers would use to disguise the fact that they were ordering a jug of so-called bootleg Zinfandel!

Either way, we LOVE the Black Chicken Zin, and order it from Biale directly (although, sometimes I find it in the store and def. make that purchase!) to have as a special treat when friends join us. It is not CRAZY expensive, but it takes a bite out of our wine budget at $48. But I highly recommend it. I don’t think you will be disappointed!

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