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Several years ago we began working with a wonderful winemaker named Todd Blomberg. An American who had been making wine in Spain since 2003, Todd was a thoughtful, remarkably talented producer and defender of organic wines, always evolving and rebelling against the mechanization and standardization of the wineries around him. Todd authored the renowned single-vineyard Albariños at Benito Santos in Rias Baixas until 2012 when…. well, he disappeared. What happened? Where did he go? The importer was cagey; he didn’t know where Todd was and claimed no none else did either. He joked with us that he may have been kidnapped. Alice Feiring wrote a blog entry in October 2013 titled “Where Is (Benito Santos’) Todd Blomberg?” in which she heaped praise upon him (“the mad genius”) and his wines (“gorgeous” and “worth buying’) but could only repeat rumors she had heard that he was suffering from health problems.
Few specifics were given.
Flash forward four years to June 2016 when our roving wine broker and friend Willie Gluckstern brought us some Spanish wines to taste and walked into our office... with none other than Todd Blomberg! Mystery solved!
His health problems were serious indeed; he had suffered from a cancerous tumor in his foot and was bedridden for a year. Immobilized and unable to pursue his winemaking career, he had plenty of time to think about what he would do if he managed to recover. Fortunately for him and the rest of the wine-loving world, he arose from bed last year and now walks again, the cancer in remission and his energies renewed. His goal? To make delicious wines naturally (i.e. organically if possible), in less heralded parts of Spain and sell them for prices that everyone can afford.
Finca La Estacada is a family-owned winery in Castilla-La Mancha, founded in 2001 on a large property about 40 minutes from Madrid by car. Todd serves as their winemaker and export manager. Several varieties of grapes are cultivated on 278 hectares of rolling hillside vineyards owned by the estate. The Ocho y Medio (8 1/2) wines are farmed at 850m elevation in clay soils with a lime substrate. Thanks to the high elevation and calcareous influence from the lime, the wines are lighter and brighter than one might expect from central Spain. The reds are high-toned and berryish with pleasing fresh fruit while the white feels kinetic on the palate and shows a beautiful marine influence, even though the ocean is hundreds of kilometers away. Todd calls the viticulture at Finca La Estacada “transitioning organic,” and views the climate and land easily suitable for working without systemic chemical influences. Considering the prices being asked for wines of this quality and conscientious production, these rank as some of the best values coming out of Spain today.