Despite what you may think, Sideways didn't kill the California Merlot market as much as it made Pinot Noir stylish. There are still some fine Merlots being made. Purple in color, ruby at the rim. The nose has a nice chocolate covered cherry quality to it. Some spice as well. On the palate, this takes about thirty minutes of air to open and then drinks very well. It is more expressive (right now) on the palate with milk chocolate covered cherries and a nice vanilla streak. Not candied as much as liqueur notes. Good balance. Nice finish. This drinks very well on its own and would be a real crowd pleaser. It will also show nicely with grilled or roasted meats or even pizza. Very smooth and easy drinking. It should mature and evolve over the next decade or perhaps a bit longer.