I like making these kinds of mistakes. Clucking up, if you will.
I thought I’d grabbed an $8 bottle of Bogel Zinfandel. It turned out I had just plucked a 2004 Robert Biale Black Chicken Zinfandel, which sells in restaurants for $80, if you can find it.
Black Chicken took me back to California and everything that’s great about Zinfandel: big and jammy, with peppery undertones. I finished the bottle about a week after I’d opened it; it held its fruit and built complexity.
It’s darned hard to find. Produced in Napa in limited quantities, it’s available to Biale’s buyer’s list and restaurants lucky enough to have primo vino contacts.
It’s funny and fitting that Black Chicken is rare. The name comes from code words Aldo Biale’s customers used to obtain bottles of Zinfandel when they called him on his party line to order eggs and produce.
I got my bottle by way of my wife’s dentist.
You can find Black Chicken on the Internet for about $40. In Tacoma, there are only two places that cellar Black Chicken: Pacific Grill ($80 per bottle) and Pour At Four ($14 per glass, starting in October for a month-long Zinfandel fest).