Merlot is one of my favorites, and I have tasted quite a large number. I have enjoyed it by itself, with cheese courses, and paired with meat. I am usually skeptical of wines in bottles with screwtops instead of corks, but I have found other wines from Livingston to be quite nice. Upon opening the bottle, it had a somewhat medicinal odor, so I decanted it for a little while. The wine definitely improved in the glass after decanting. The aforementioned medicinal quality had completely vanished and the nose presented with a blooming grapey quality. As it hit the mouth, it was unexpectedly smooth and supple. Being a dry wine, it was slightly parching, but no more than expected. The less-expensive dry reds usually have sappy and/or astringent qualities about them, but this one does not. Instead, it is a very drinkable product, and the grape comes across very boldly. The only lacking qualities are the typical fruity and spicy notes that are usually found in merlot. Hints of black pepper or cinnamon are faint and berry-like notes are non-existant. Ultimately, while a very good red wine for its price bracket, I can not recommend this as a "go to" merlot. It would make a very respectable "house red," though, as long as your guests are not expecting anything particularly spectacular.