The original chateaux, which stands on the highest point in Entre-Deux- Mers, was first built 1,000 years ago. You read that right, it's not a typo. The chateau has been producing wine here for a millennium. It was so famous that King Henry VI declared in 1426 that the area would now be known as Benauge County. It has been registered as a historic monument since 1995.
Obviously, we find it amusing when some wineries boast their history going back 50 or 100 years. Benauge has them beat by more than a couple of centuries. The current ownership began in 1962 when Algerian-born, Paul Gonfrier, purchased the property which consisted of a rundown chateau and 10 acres of vineyards. His two sons, Eric and Phillippe, took over the operation in 1998 when their father retired. They purchased other properties along the way until their holdings are now an astonishing 1,200 acres.
No wine area on Earth is as diverse as Bordeaux. They definitely measure up to the old adage, "location is everything." Benauge benefits from its high elevation where the air is cleaner and the sun brighter, but the temperature cooler. It stands on one of the best locations in the appellation.
The mix here is a classic. It consists of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. The vines are just hitting their stride at 25 years of age. All this accounts for the aroma of wild berries mixed with spice and vanilla. The flavors follow suit and beg for a steak and kidney pie or a wild boar pasta.