The Black Chicken may be secret code for one of California's most sought-after zinfandels, but it's Robert Biale Vineyards' investment in petite sirah that is Napa's best-kept secret. Biale has been actively planting petite sirah vineyards in the Napa Valley, transforming the once-famous love child of syrah and peloursin from workhorse to show-horse. Biale's Royal Punishers (an anagram of syrah and peloursin) blends fruit from the Biale ranch, the winery on Big Ranch Road, Carpy/Gamble ranch in Rutherford, Thomann Station and Old Craft vineyards in St. Helena and Caravas vineyard in Calistoga into a concentrated attention-grabber. From its blue-black color to its blueberry fruit, Royal Punishers is a love letter to petite sirah, taming the love struck beast with elegance and polish. Enjoy now with a hearty stake or dark chocolate or stash in the cellar for some softening age, or do both. This is a comeback wine to come back to again and again.
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