Unfortunately, TWC waited too long to open this one and it is way past its prime. Not exactly corked, though cork taint cannot be ruled out entirely.
Show of hands? How many of you have ordered wine by the glass at lunch on a Wednesday with your Italian client only to discover that the bottle had been open and sitting under the back bar since Satuday night? Yeah, like that. Not quite turned, but I ain't paying ten bucks for a glass of this.
Pay attention here. Part of the problem comes from storing wine on racks at room temps instead of cellar temps. I need Linda's wine fridge. Holds like 800 bottles.
Sure, TWC has wine fridges, but not enough capacity for all the bottles, so only the really pricey stuff gets treated right. And, Merlot doesn't age like Cabernet does. Franciscan is particularly mellow to begin with, so long term aging isn't in the picture.
Modern Americans don't realize this: Room temperature doesn't mean your living room. It *really* doesn't mean your living room during the Dog Days of August in Memphis when the air con is defunct and the repair guy is booked for two weeks and it's 93 degrees with 95% humidity.
Room temperature is cellar temperature which is roughly the temperature you would find about 200 feet down into any given abandonded gold mine. IOW, about 54-56 degrees. Year round. That's the natural temperature of the limestone caves that are used as wine cellars in Bordeaux France.
Opened a second bottle (Dude, TWC's gotta drink some of this stuff that's aging into oblivion), and it was better. It has matured into a Bordeuax-like, brick colored wine. The discernible rich fruit on the palate has morphed into leather and earth. This one is a bit past prime as well, but like a fine woman, it is still a pleasure.
Bonus (speaking of Bordeaux France):