If you’ve been following along, you know I’ve discovered my new “winemaker to watch.” Mark Flowers, owner and winemaker for Mark Edward Wines astonished me with his delicate Zinfandel and the friendly expression of his Petite Sirah. So, even though I’m often skeptical of red blends — especially those that begin with Zinfandel — I was not afraid to pop the cork of another one of Mark’s wines. In fact, by this time I was excited just to see what else this young man can do…

About the Wine: Pazienza 2015 Bella Red Blend is made from 49% Zinfandel, 44% Petite Sirah, and 7% Syrah all harvested from Ceja Vineyards in Sonoma County. The individual lots for each varietal were fermented separately. The blend of the Zinfandel and Petite Sirah started after two days, with the Syrah added just before bottling. This red blend is unoaked.

14.1% ABV

Flavor Profile: Open up the bottle of the Pazienza 2015 Bella Red Blend and breathe in darkness, breathe in ink, breathe in plump prunes fallen onto the damp and soggy soil at night. On the pour the Pazienza 2015 Bella Red Blend is like a purple gem that’s been scavenged from the depths of a dark cave, unburied from that damp soil you smelled. Take a look at the glass, tilt, and see the most beautifully shiny maroon, nearly impenetrable at its core, fading out gradually, almost unnoticeably.

Initial aromas are of blackberries, black cherries, hints of wet green grass and an obvious line of acidity. So swirl, swirl and open up those flowers, open up  rose petal water, open up the heat of black pepper. There is a bit of a perfume-like quality, but it’s more herbal than floral, and certainly more masculine, seeming to bridge the gap between cologne and perfume.

The palate is immediately bright with bing cherries, cranberries, and raspberries. At first, you’ll think the texture round, but this wine evolves with every moment it stays in the mouth: Acidity decreases, tannins increase, spice level amplifies — and you’re left with a textural tongue tickle of a finish.

Dominant flavors are of bing cherries, raspberries, cranberries, and vanilla, charred oak barrel, a wafting sweet cigar smoke, black pepper heat, and smoldering ashes. And do you see how even those flavors evolve? They start with the vivaciousness of a cherry tree or berry bush, that burns, that charrs, that flames, and that ultimately turns to dust.

Food Pairing: I paired the Pazienza 2015 Bella Red Blend with a very simple homemade pizza. And I did this because I wanted a kind of baseline meal to pair with this Mark Edward Wines experience. And so, I’ll say this — of course it went well. Was it the perfect pairing? I think that I’d love to try this wine with a hearty, earthy dish. I’m thinking an eggplant lasagna, or a roasted portabello mushroom “burger.” I think meaty vegetables like this will help smooth out the palate and create a more seamless palatial experience. I also want to note that while this red blend is certainly drinkable and enjoyable now (Heaven knows I enjoyed it), the Pazienza 2015 Bella Red Blend will age beautifully in the next 5 to 7 years.

More Info: I received the Pazienza 2015 Bella Red Blend as a sample for review. (Cheers Mark!) Retail: $25. For more information about Mark Edward Wines and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Mark Edward Wines website.

BriscoeBites officially accepts samples as well as conducts on-site and online interviews. Want to have your wine, winery or tasting room featured? Please visit the Sample Policy page where you can contact me directly. Cheers!

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