Without a doubt, Ester Nin Llort is one of the most prestigious oenologists in Spain. The girl is on fire. Beside garnering a historic 98 points from Wine Advocate for the first wine she ever made, Ms. Llort’s day job is producing wines for the legendary Clos i Terrasses, home to the fabled Clos Erasmus. Critics adore her, collectors chase after her and the crazy part is she still has yet to reach her ceiling. Ms. Llort’s once in a generation blend of ambition, imagination and talent has lead her to several acclaimed personal projects, but her main attention is on the tiny production of her own estate wines: Familia Nin-Ortiz.
Familia Nin-Ortiz is approximately 13 hectares in size, made up an assortment of several old vine steep terraced vineyards Ms. Llort and her partner bought in Priorat. This includes a 3 hectare parcel of old vine Garnatxa Pelluda and Carinyena in Mas d’En Caçador– the famed vineyard on the border between Porrera and Gratallops (it is also one of the highest vineyards in the appellation).
One of the most interesting facets to Ms. Llort’s success, especially with Nin-Ortiz, is her sensitivity and hands off approach. Ms. Llort and her partner farm exclusively using organically materials, biodynamic infusions and they also create their own compost. Yet they do not carry the “Natural” wine flag. Ms. Llort’s goal at Familia Nin-Ortiz is not to shame (or brag) others in her use of organic material (though she is a huge proponent), instead her focus is to quietly produce elegant wines with as little manipulation as possible. Extraction, for example, a shortcut many winemakers use to boost flavor and power, is held to a minimum and done without any aggressive manipulation of the cap. Aging takes place in primarily neutral vessels so the purity of the site can be preserved. Yes, these are big wines with big scores, but they are made with sensitivity and tremendous intelligence. Her 2015’s are tearing a hole in the wine world and we’re lucky to have a sizable allocation. The crazy part? This girl has yet to even reach the ceiling!
2015 Planetes de Nin Priorat
"The amazing 2015 Planetes de Nin is a blend of Garnacha and Cariñena that fermented in 3,200-liter French oak vats with indigenous yeasts and matured in a 3,000-liter oak vat for some 18 months. It starts as a closed and serious red, with great detail, poise and elegance, incredibly fresh for the conditions of the year, challenging the 2014 with freshness. It's fresh and mineral, elegant and perfumed, floral and nicely balanced on the palate. This has to be the finest Planetes to date. Bravo!” 95 Points, Wine Advocate
2015 Familia Nin-Ortiz Nit de Nin "Mas D'en Caçador" Priorat
“The Nit de Nin family has grown with the addition of a new vineyard. The wine produced since 2003 comes from Mas d'en Caçador—this was always named on the label, but it is now also specified in the wine name to distinguish between the new vineyard. The 2015 Nit de Nin Mas d’en Caçador comes from the vineyard mentioned in the name, a famous place in Porrera planted with old vines of Garnacha Negra, Garnacha Peluda and Cariñena. It fermented in an oak vat with indigenous yeasts and matured in a similar vat for 18 months. It's heady and ripe, exuberant and very open, a hedonistic, round and lush wine. The palate reveals very fine tannins and great harmony.” 97 Points, Wine Advocate
2015 Nit de Nin La Coma d’en Romeu Priorat
“The range is growing with the addition of the 2015 Nit de Nin La Coma d’en Romeu, pure Garnacha from 1.5 hectares of old vines planted 72 years ago two kilometers from Porrera. They took away all the raisins and overripe individual berries and fermented the rest in an oak vat with indigenous yeasts—a constant here—and then transferred the wine to 225-, 300- and 600-liter oak barrels for 18 months. This was the revelation of my tasting in Priorat, as the wine was so perfumed and floral. This is an early-ripening vineyard where grapes can get very ripe, so they have to harvest it early and work with a lot of precision. The 2015 wine is fresh and precise. They know the vineyard quite well because they have worked it for years and have used the grapes for different things, but they finally managed to buy the vineyard, and in 2015, I think they harvested it the exact day the grapes were ripe and fresh. This is the first year they were happy enough with the wine to release it. It's the essence of the Mediterranean, with tons of rosemary, thyme, lavender, wildflowers and fine minerality. This is stunning, simply amazing.” 98 Points, Wine Advocate