HISTORY. THE ROMANS, EL CID, THE GRAND MASTER AND XdT
GRAND MASTER, A PREDECESSOR OF XdT
A direct predecessor of XdT wine was elaborated during the years 70 and 80 of the 20 thCentury. Gran Maestre -Grand Master in Spanish- was a brand that only friends and acquaintances of the family could enjoy. Dedicated to honor the Grand Master of the Order of Maltar Francisco Ximenez de Tejada, it incorporated his portrait on the label
Although the wine it was made in another historical building of the family, Gran Maestre was the inspiration for the XdT brand when it was decided to reopen the most historical cellar of the family.
The cultural heritage of Ximénez de Tejada joined the Fernández de Navarrete family through the descendants of D. Martin Fernández de Navarrete Ximénez de Tejada. Born in Ábalos in 1765, D. Martin was one of the main architects of La Rioja was constituted as a province when the Spanish provincial division was made.. He was also Knight of the Sovereign and Military Order of Malta, nephew of Grand Master Francisco Ximénez de Tejada.
Martín Fernández de Navarrete Ximénez de Tejada, whose portrait painted by the son of Vicente López is presently presiding the Board of Trustees' hall of the Naval Museum of Madrid was a great scholar and historian too. His most important legacy is "Collection of voyages and discoveries made by the Spaniards from the end of the 15th century".
He followed the path marked by several of his ancestors who were prestigious scholars and artists: as Don Juan Fernández de Navarrete "El Mudo" (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 treaties on the monarchy of China" (1676).
D. Martin, one of the most revered characters of the family, was at the time of his death Director of the Spanish Royal Academy of History. Among other distinctions he was:
- Minister of the Navy
- 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
- of the Extinguished 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 2 nd 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.
However, some private wineries continued to exist throughout this period, of which XdT is one of the oldest in the Rioja.
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.