The word 'Benje' comes from the language of the indigenous inhabitants of Tenerife who lived on the island prior to it's colonization by the Spanish over four hundred years ago. Benje was their name for the tallest peak on Tenerife, the 3000 plus meter high volcano now known as 'Pico Viejo' (Old Mountain), an eruption a little over a year ago blew the top off Benje, reducing it from the tallest, to the second tallest peak on Tenerife behind the 3700m Pico Teide.
The vineyards that provide fruit for Benje Blanco are in the shadow of the volcano, planted directly into the rubble and scree that remains after an eruption in 1908. The vineyards are well over 1000m above sea level, above the town of Santiago de Teide on the north western side of the island. Unlike the lower zones of Valle de la Orotava or Taganana further to the east, the Benje sites are less subject to the cooling Aliosos trade winds, but the added altitude brings it's own sense of freshness to the wines of this zone. The altitude also means Benje's vines are normally above the cloud cover resulting in much, much drier conditions. Typically this would result in more textured, glyceric wines, closer to the Albillo's of the Sierra de Gredos than the more racy, Galician/Atlantic looking wines from Oratava but the Envinate crews' continual experimentation with flor yeast, something they became accustomed too while consulting to sherry producer Alvear has increasingly resulted in leaner, more graceful wines. As of the 2018 vintage some 60% of Benje Blanco is influenced by flor. The result isn't so much a clear sherry-vibe, this isn't a volcanic Fino or Manzanilla, as much as it is a stripping back of fruit and texture to display more of the underlying minerality, salinity and acid line.