XdT: THE GRAND MASTER and PRINCE OF MALTA Francisco XIMENEZ de TEJADA and Martin FERNANDEZ DE NAVARRETE XIMENEZ DE TEJADA
The historical inspiration for XdT
XdT, a unique wine due to its history and tradition, brings together several sources of inspiration. Direct predecessor of XdT, it was a wine made during the 70s and 80s of the 20th century.
It was an extremely limited brand in its production that very few were able to enjoy. Dedicated to the Prince of Malta and LXIX Grand Master of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Francisco Ximénez de Tejada y Eslava (1700-1775), it included his portrait on the label, portraits of which there are only originals in Spain, Italy and Malta.
"Gran Maestre" - Grand Master - was an inspiration for the birth of the XdT brand, when Gonzalo Fernández de Navarrete González-Valerio -3rd son of the Marquis of Ximénez de Tejada- decided to start producing wine again at the beginning of the 21st century.
The cultural heritage of the Ximénez de Tejada and the Fernández de Navarrete ended up united through the descendants of D. Martín Fernández de Navarrete and Ximénez de Tejada (Abalos 1765- Madrid 1844). Born in Ábalos in 1765, he was one of the main architects of La Rioja being constituted as a province when the Spanish provincial division was made. He was also a Knight of the Sovereign and Military Order of Malta and a nephew of Grand Master Francisco Ximénez de Tejada.
Martín Fernández de Navarrete and Ximénez de Tejada, whose portrait by the son of the painter Vicente López Portaña currently presides over the Hall of the Board of Trustees of the Naval Museum of Madrid, and shares a hall at the Royal Academy of History with the Duke of Alba and D. Marcelino Menendez Pelayo. Another copy of his portrait is in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.
Martín Fernández de Navarrete y Ximénez de Tejada, in addition to being a Knight of the Order of Malta, was a great scholar and historian. His most important legacy was the work "Collection of the voyages and discoveries that the Spanish made by sea since the end of the 15th century", praised by Alexander Von Humboldt as one of the great pillars of knowledge of all time. He followed in the footsteps of several of his relatives and ancestors who had excelled in the facets of arts and letters. Among them D. Juan Fernández de Navarrete "El Mudo" (c.1538-1579), D. Pedro Fernández de Navarrete (1564-1632) author of the "Conservation of Monarchies", (1626) or D. Domingo Fernández de Navarrete (1619-1686) and his masterpiece "Historical, Political, Ethical, and Religious Treatises on the Monarchy of China" (1676)
D. Martín Fernández de Navarrete Ximénez de Tejada, one of the most revered characters in the family, was at the time of his death Director of the Royal Academy of History. Among other distinctions and positions, he was:
- State Counselor
- Director of the Spanish Royal Academy of History
- Knight of the Order of Malta,
- Great Cross of the Royal American Order of Ysabel la Católica
- Commander of the Legion of Honor of France
- Member of the Council of Spain and of the Indies
- Director of the Hydrographic Depot
- Born member of the Admiralty Board
- Vice-protector of the Royal Academy of Noble Arts of San Fernando,
- Dean of the Royal Spanish Academy of Language,
- Individual of the Institut de France
- of the academy of History of Rio de Janeiro
- of the Academy of San Lucas of Rome
- of the Sciences of Turin
- of Berlin
- of the Antiquarian Societies of Copenhagen and Normandy
- Philosophical American of Philadelphia
- of Geography of Paris and London.
- and of the Economic Matritense.
- and of several others of the Kingdom of Spain
The XdT logo is a modern union of the symbols of Ximenez de Tejada and Fernández de Navarrete cultural heritages'. The upper part of the XdT brand logo is inspired on the shield of Fernández de Navarrete, originated in the 14 th century,
THE ROMANS, LA RIOJA, EL CID AND XdT
Viniculture in La Rioja dates from the Second Century BC. Hitherto the Greeks had brought wine making to coastal areas of Spain, yet it was not until then when the Roman legions succeeded in pushing their conquests further into the Hispanic peninsula.
Despite this relatively late arrival, wine making in the Sonsierra Riojana rapidly began to flourish, partly as a result of the building of the Via XXXIV, a trade route crossing through the settlements of Beleia and Deobriga, presently very close to the towns of Abalos and San Vicente. However, given the unique climate and soil, the wines from the Iber river, the Ebro, soon became known much further a field - in Rome.
Notwithstanding the fall of the occidental Roman Empire, with the 5 th Century Visigoth invasion, viniculture continued. However, during the Moorish invasion, the wine making tradition was maintained by the religious orders in the remaining Christian lands. In the 11 th Century the area of La Rioja was recovered by the Christians and viticulture flourished again.
It was as well in the 11 th century when Prince Ramiro of Navarre -married to the Cid´s daughter- ordered to build a Church in thanks for success of the siege of Jerusalem in 1099. Santa Maria de la Piscina was built in 1136 by his heirs and they also created the chivalric order of “Divisa, Solar y Casa Real de la Piscina,” to commemorate his participation in the first Crusade. Since then his descent, that unites the King of Navarre to the Cid´s lineage has been present in the Sonsierra Riojana.
The owners of XdT winery, which is located very close to the 12 th century Church, continue to this day to be members of the Order.
In the latest part of the Middle Ages wine making was essentially made in the abbeys and monasteries as well as by the population in open air presses.
The next great milestone in the history of Rioja came with the arrival of the phylloxera at the end of 19 th Century. The disease destroyed most vine stocks throughout Europe, yet those of Rioja remained largely immune.
Consequently, with their own vineyards fallow, many leading producers from around the Continent came to the region to re-establish their business, bringing with them a wealth of experience and different methodologies for making wine.
The reception to these new ideas has taken root and still to this day La Rioja - specially the Sonsierra- is renowned throughout the world for making some of the most innovative of wines, among them XdT.