Wine production at Cantemerle can be traced back as far as 1354. The property then spent a great amount of time in two families: the Villeneuves from 1576-1892 (under whose reign Cantemerle was awarded a fifth growth status in the 1855 Classification), followed by the Dubos until 1980, when it was bought by insurance firm SMABTP.
This was the first time that a château had been purchased by an insurance company (several other properties followed suit in later years) but the group was determined to restore the vineyard, cellar and building to their former glory. After a marvellous 1983 vintage, the vineyard was greatly extended and replanted throughout the eighties and early nineties, bringing it to life again and ensuring it was properly mature for the excellent vintages of the new millennium.
There are now 91 hectares under vine, planted on fine, deep gravel, amidst a botanical fairyland of parklands. The château has regained its romantic charm, and there have been huge developments in the winery: it now boasts temperature-controlled cellars and three vat rooms, one each for stainless-steel, oak and cement tanks.
Cabernet sauvignon constitutes half the blend, with 40% merlot and 5% each of cabernet franc and petit verdot making up the rest, and the wine is aged in oak (50% new) for 12 months.
Cantemerle is frequently one of the best buys in Bordeaux because it offers fragrance, elegance, charm and balance, which are the hallmarks of good claret, without trying to over-impress or win prizes. It will age gracefully for between five and 20 years.