The wine is a bright ruby color in the glass, with great clarity. The nose presents aromas of blackberry, cherry and plum overlaid with some earthy notes of violet, leather and oak. The taste is a blast of ripe black fruit up front, cherry, blackberry and a hint of plum that transitions to some lovely dark chocolate and espresso notes midpalate. The fine tannins offer a solid backbone to the long, smooth and exceptionally dry finish, just the way a good Merlot should come off.
Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's just an ideal Columbia Valley Merlot and a solid value at the full price of $26, but with the wine club discount this one comes it at just $23 and change. This one would pair well with a variety of hearty autumn dishes, from stews and chili to a classic Yankee pot roast. Tonight I am going a little more simplistic, with a grilled prime ribeye that I bought from Allen Brothers Steaks out of Chicago, some roasted Yukon gold fingerling potatoes and some steamed broccoli. The lovely fruit notes and smooth dry finish make this an ideal wine for steak. Cheers!