HISTORY This wine was first released in 1997 as Heritage Clone Zinfandel. Using old vine budwood grafted into a new vineyard, the Heritage bottling represents the best of a young vine Zin with distinctive old vine characters. GROWING SEASON The 2010 vintage may go down as one of the more difficult, challenging vintages of the […]

Robert Biale Vineyards Sets The Standard For California Zinfandels

The Most Significant Planting of Zinfandel in Our Modern Era.

Napa Vineyard Preservationists Take Zinfandel to “the Next Stage”

Back to the Future.

According to Dave Pramuk, Robert Biale’s co-founder and marketing strategist, “Robert Biale Vineyards is delighted with this project – the most significant planting of Zinfandel in Napa Valley in our modern era. In the pioneering days of California viticulture, Zinfandel was the grape of choice across the state. In Napa Valley, Zinfandel once comprised over 25 percent of the vineyards in the county. Since the Robert Mondavi era and Napa’s marketing switch to French wine grapes in the 1970s, it’s dwindled to a scant two percent of the valley’s vineyards.”

In the story that follows our review, you’ll learn the important facts of this most significant planting:

  • Why Biale approached Jan Krupp, Stagecoach Vineyards’ managing partner, about a new and exciting project overlooking the Oakville District of Napa Valley, and just south of prestigious Pritchard Hill.

  • “Renegade” Zinfandel planted unabashedly among Napa Valley Cabs, priced into the high hundreds of dollars per bottle, has no such pedigree, a cultish following, and is making history.

  • History of the Zinfandel grape on which you may not have yet had a focus, including its Croatian beginnings.

  • Stagecoach is a re-creation of a Zinfandel from the pioneer era. Learn its classic vine selection.

  • A huge calculating gamble pays off, with two important factors.

  • Viticultural terroir, above Napa Valley versus Sonoma.

  • What the 2002 and 2004 harvests delivered.

  • By 2007, potential was becoming reality.

  • New winemaker Steve Hall, takes on the 2008 harvest and gets into a selective picking regime that spells more success.

  • And 2009 delivers an uncommon Zinfandel that combines finesse, power, and identity in the same package. For Biale, the ideal wine is the ultimate expression of where it’s from.

We had be impressed with the 2009 Royal Punishers Napa Valley Petite Sirah, which is an outstanding example of what a great winemaker can do with this often misunderstood grape, which managed to keep its intensity, while exuding a definitive Rhone structure. So we were exited to taste a vertical selection of Stagecoach Zinfandel: 07, 08, 09 vintages so that we could get a fairly complete picture of the progress of the vineyard, how it has performed in different  seasons, and ageing characteristics.

Working from youngest to oldest vintage, we were impressed with the remarkable aging potential. While the 2009 was fruity and balanced, it only hinted at what it might evolve into. The 2007 was mature, yet fresh and inviting. A surprising elegance and finesse combined with a generous nose and glorious, lingering finish. The 2008 was a tad closed, but after several hours opened up to display flavors of cherry, black current  and hidden mint.

Food friendly, theses wines are the stuff that California admirers can flaunt with pride. Lovely with steaks, roasts, game, assertive cheeses and grilled salmon.

Inquire at the vineyard for pricing and availability. If you are fortunate enough to fine one on a restaurant wine list, grab it!

Mountain-raised, and making the torturous struggle to slowly ripen grapes, the vines at Stagecoach are producing Zinfandels that would make the Zinfandel forefathers proud, and delight the avid fans of this legacy to America’s viticultural origins.

For more information on Robert Biale, visit www.robertbialevineyards.com.

Robert Biale Vineyards Stagecoach Vineyard The Biale Block Zinfandel, Napa Valley, USA

Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


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