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A Little Bird Told Me: Zinsanity

With our Independence Day around the corner, we give tribute to the grape most referred to as America’s grape — zinfandel.

Though DNA testing found it to be closely related to grapes from Croatia and Italy, it is here in California that the wine has thrived. The vines have shown to be incredibly resilient, fighting off fungus, disease, old age and the government (aren’t they all the same?).

During Prohibition, while many vineyards were being torn up, small pockets of zinfandel continued to be nurtured. One with a cult following was “Black Chicken,” the code name Aldo Biale used for his zinfandel that local wine lovers could order along with their eggs and produce to keep from being harassed  by the law. Today, Biale’s son has kept the tradition alive, paying tribute to his father’s courage with Robert Biale Black Chicken Zinfandel. Still made in tiny quantities, this is a rare treat if you can find it.

To read the full story, pick up the latest issue of McHenry County Magazine.