Indaba Merlot 2003
The Indaba brand was first launched in the US in 1996, shortly after South Africa transitioned to a democratic republic. "Indaba" is the Zulu word for "a meeting of the minds," or a traditional gathering of tribal leaders for sharing ideas. The brand was created as a celebration of the democratization process in South Africa, and from its inception the wines have conveyed the spirit of South Africa to American consumers.
The Indaba range is carefully selected from emerging regions of the Cape winelands such as Robertson, Wellington, and the Breede River Valley. Production is overseen by Bruwer Raats, celebrated winemaker of Raats Family Wines and long-term consultant for Indaba. All are bottled under user-friendly screwcap closures with environmentally friendly packaging. In addition to garnering regular "Best Buy" nods from Wine Enthusiast, Indaba has earned extensive praise in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, which described the wines as "truly mind-boggling values" for the past two consecutive vintages.
A commitment to social responsibility has always been a key part of the Indaba philosophy. A portion of the proceeds from the brand’s global sales funds a scholarship program that supports wine-related studies for students from formerly disenfranchised communities in South Africa. Through growth of the brand and via the affiliated scholarship, Indaba is proud to be a part of the positive changes that are altering the face of South Africa’s wine industry.
With an important wine renaissance in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.
Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.
South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following close behind.