South African wine production has long been a political endeavor, beginning with the first plantings with the Dutch East India Company, to economic protests in the 20th Century over apartheid.
It has only been recently that South African wines have been taken seriously in the international market. It is now one of the top ten wine-producing regions in the world and is known for producing wines of quality and value.
Most South African Merlot is grown in the Stellenbosch coastal region, which is the second oldest in South Africa. It is most often used as a blending grape with Cabernet Sauvignon as in Bordeaux.
Although Merlot is not generally categorized among South Africa’s most premium wines, these unblended Merlots are known as dependably easy drinking, fruit forward wines with soft tannins.
Until recently, the South African wine industry focused heavily on white grape production. It is only in the last several years that red varieties, such as Merlot, have been planted in significant numbers.