To learn more about Centum Vitis, we must also talk about phylloxera, an aphid-like insect that attacked almost every vineyard worldwide. Its life cycle depends on vine species: it attacks both roots and leaves of American vines, but just the root in European. Phylloxera first entered Europe in 1863 and at the end of the 19th century it had already devastated 90% of the European vineyards. Concerning Spain, first evidences appeared in Gerona and Málaga in 1877. It reached La Rioja in June 1899, and five years later every vine from the region had been infested. As phylloxera comes from America, its indigenous grape varieties are, at least, partially resistant to this disease. After extensive research, they succeeded in finding a solution to the problem: grafting the European grape varieties (vitis vinifera) to the roots of American vines (vitis labrusca, rupestri, riparia…), that were more resistant.
Fortunately for wine lovers, Valdelana Family keeps a small vineyard called Santa Cruz that survived this pest. It is thought that the type of soil and the location of the vineyard directly influenced on it. Santa Cruz plot has a chalk-clay soil, a very poor type of soil with low permeability; the root system of the vine is very short, and the vineyard is located on steep slopes. As water tends to flow down very quickly, permeability is even lower.
We firmly believe that those conditions prevented this lethal insect (phylloxera) from getting its needs. The impact of phylloxera can be seen around these vines. Long time ago some other vineyards grew in Santa Cruz plot, but, nowadays, we can only find some immortal vines that have witnessed the wine and landscape evolution of Elciego.
Our family has been taking care of these 100-year-old vines for four generations, because we know that their fruit hides the supreme quality. Every year we harvest the grape by hand and make the must in a very careful way. After a ten-month ageing in French oak barrels, this tannic, aromatic, silky wine succeeds in showing its original quality.
We decided to pair this wine with edible gold in order to celebrate the survival of these vines. This way we combine wine and gold, two natural antioxidants that arise from the depths of the Earth. It was the first wine in the world paired with edible gold leaves, highlighting the vasodilator effects red wine already has.