GRAPES AND WINEMAKING
- Located in northern Spain, Rioja was the first wine region in Spain to receive the prized designation of Denominacion de Origen Calificada (DOCa), recognizing consistent production of Spain's finest wine.
- Riojas are classified based on required aging in both oak barrels and bottles and traditionally they are not released from the winery until they are ready to drink.
- Traditionally, Rioja wines have used a blend of grapes from all three sub-regions including Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Baja. Each one has distinct soil and climate characteristics, however they are all fall under the same DOC Rioja umbrella. The differences in altitude, soil types and climate ensure that every Rioja vintage is crafted from the highest quality grapes, selected from vineyards in the most successful and productive areas.
- In Rioja, they often say their wines are "made in the vineyards", and insist on using the highest quality grapes matured to perfection. Rioja is home to several grape varieties as tempranillo, Garnacha tinta, Mazuelo, Graciano, Viura, Garnacha blanca, and Malvasia. However the prize of the region is certainly the tempranillo grape, which has been cultivated in Spain for centuries and is recognized as one of the world's noble varieties. As the chief ingredient in Rioja wines, tempranillo grapes form the vibrant base for the rich flavors of Rioja reds.
- Valdelana is situated at the entrance to the village of Elciego. The origin of Elciego is shrouded in the legend of the migration of an ancient village known as San Andris de la Ribera which had settled on the banks of the River Ebro in the 9th century. In this district there was a an inn, run by a blind man, which anyone crossing over the Ebro was obliged to pass by. The sheer humanity of that good man and his willingness to be of service endowed him with great popularity and fame, with the result that, little by little, the inhabitants of the old hamlet started moving over to the vicinity of the inn, thus founding a town which, in the innkeeper’s honor, was named as “Elciego “ (the blind man).
- Today, just as it did 1,200 years ago, the town of Elciego lies in a peerless setting between the River Ebro and the lower slopes of the Cantabrian mountain range, 451 meters above sea level.
- Bodegas Valdelana is one of 15 grape growers in the Alavesa region of the DOC La Rioja, situated between the mountain range, Sierra Cantabria and the river Ebro. The Valdelana family has been involved in wine as far back as the 16th century. In 1860, the owner died of carbon gas inhalation that the grapes had emitted during alcohol fermentation. The current owner is Juan Jesus Valdelana.