The wine is a little lighter in color than your typical merlot, with a color similar to many pinot noirs. The nose has some nice jammy fruit notes of blackberry, strawberry and some prune, and over the top there are some fresh herbs and cut grass. The taste is very fruit forward, with some tart cherry up front that transitions easily to some toasted oak and herbs midpalate. The tannins are somewhat soft on this wine, leading to a rather short, lackluster finish.
Overall I would rate this wine a 6.5, it's not a spectacular merlot, but it's easy to drink and a pretty good value for around $8. As for pairing, tonight I'm enjoying it with a rare grilled NY strip with some grilled golden beets and fresh sweet corn that I picked up from a farm stand yesterday. The wine works well with the veggies but does get a bit lost with the bold flavors of the steak. In any case, for a free wine I can't complain too much!