The story of Mark Edward Wines is the story of a man who took what he knew — entrepreneurial business — and combined it with what he loved — wine. In the summer 2014 Mark Flowers took the plunge and fully immersed himself in the wine industry, taking on an internship under the tutelage under the collective winemakers at Sheldon, Two Shepherds and Krutz Family Cellars. It wasn’t long after that that Mark began making his own wines, connecting with prestigious vineyards and sourcing some of the best fruit Sonoma has to offer. And I can tell you right now, the moral of this wine story: Good things come in small batches…

And good things come to those with pazienza.

About the Wine: The Pazienza 2015 Ceja Vineyard Zinfandel is made from 100% Zinfandel grapes harvested from Ceja Vineyards in Sonoma County. The wine was aged in neutral oak barrels (Alain Fouquet cooperage) for 11 months then 40% French oak for 2 months before last racking and bottling. To explain this Mark says, “I like to control oak post fermentation and aging so as to not over-oak the wine. I want the wine to fully express itself and the oak to complement its beauty as opposed to be a dominant presence in its characteristics.”

14.1% ABV

Flavor Profile: It’s called Pazienza, and I’ll admit, I was wondering whether or not I should practice a bit of patience with this wine. Does it need time to age? If I open it now, should I aerate? Decant? None of the above. So…

Open the bottle of the Pazienza 2015 Ceja Vineyard Zinfandel and find funky aromas of muddy sand and smoke from a slow roaster. This Zinfandel is a light, soft, dusty purple-meets-rouge on the pour, settling into the glass with the same hue and is, surprisingly, completely see-through. Initial aromas are of ripe cranberries, black cherries, dark cacao. Take a deep breath in and find the scent of sweet tobacco that just envelopes all these other scents like one big puffy cloud. Swirl, and release a few faint herbs, enliven those fruits…but oh that sweet tobacco…

The palate is as smooth as anything. Tannins go from zero to a tiny tickle on the tongue — they are so light, so delicate, yet the wine maintains a good structure from start to finish. The acidity is joyfully strong, carrying the vivaciousness of those fruits sensed on the nose. There’s a bit of spice that creeps up and lingers on the tonuge and lips (like the sensation one gets from touching a chili or jalepeño pepper — without the flavor of it). Dominant flavors are of a musky cologne, cranberries, black cherries, cedar wood, a hint of spearmint and — yes! — that tobacco. And it is that tobacco that lingers on the breath like a fine cigar.

Food Pairing: I paired the Pazienza 2015 Ceja Vineyard Zinfandel with a homemade seafood paella. What I loved the most was that the overall light body of the wine was the perfect accompaniment to such a hearty dish. The tobacco scents certainly played well with the burnt, crusty bits of the rice, while those vivacious fruits balanced out the savory spices throughout the dish.

Perfect pairing? I don’t know. All I know is that I loved this wine so much that I want another bottle of it so I can drink it again — with this meal, a different one, or just on its own. I can’t wait to taste what else Mark Edward Wines produces.

More Info: I received the Pazienza 2015 Ceja Vineyard Zinfandel as a sample for review. (Cheers Mark!) Retail: $30. For more information about Mark Edward, their wines, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Mark Edward Wines website.

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