The wine is a bright ruby color in the glass, with nice clarity. The nose presents lovely aromas of cedar, tart cherry, blackberry and tobacco. The taste is classic Walla Walla Merlot, with flavors of mocha, cherry cola and blackberry up front that transition nicely to some earthy mineral notes and just a hint of "Bordeaux funk" midpalate. The tannins are elegant and well integrated, supporting the long smooth, dry finish that is so reminiscent of a nice right bank Bordeaux.
Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it has to be one of the nicest Merlots I've had in quite some time! Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a rather non-traditional pairing with sea scallops seared in sesame oil atop a bed of baby kale and some pesto farfalle. The earthy flavors of the wine offer a nice foil to the sweetness of the scallops, while complementing the spice of the pesto. Cheers!