Husband and wife team Ester Nin and Carles Ortiz are the dynamic duo behind Familia Nin Ortiz. They are driven by a desire to produce wines using wholly biodynamic farming principles, which encourage soil health and natural yeast production in the vineyard.
The original Nit de Nin launched originally by Ester is a powerful, structured red with bright acidity and minerality which benefits from some cellaring. Grapes are sourced from Mas d’en Caçador, a 112-year-old vineyard planted with Cariñena, Garnacha and Garnacha Peluda.
Garnatxa Negre, Garnatxa Peluda, Carinyena grapes.
Certified organic and biodynamic vineyards on schist at 650 metres a.s.l.
Grapes are hand-harvested, whole bunch fermentation using natural yeasts in oak vats, with a 4 week maceration. Maturation for 16 months in 2700L French oak foudre.
After obtaining a degree in Biology at the University of Barcelona then a subsequent degree in Oenology – with an emphasis on biodynamic and organic viticulture – at the Public University of Tarragona, Ester Nin took a position at Mas Martinet in the village of Porrera in 2001. Raised in the Alt Penedès, she felt right at home in the Priorat, eventually became the viticulturist for Daphne Glorian at Clos i Terrasses where she supervised the transition of the vineyards to biodynamic farming. Falling in love with the rugged slopes, rocky soils and ancient vines of the region, in 2004 Ester bought a 1.5ha parcel of old vine Garnatxa Negre, Peluda and Carinyena in Mas d’En Caçador– the famed vineyard on the border between Porrera and Gratallops. At 650 meters above sea level, this site is one of the highest in the Priorat and its north-facing slopes are buttressed by ancient stone terraces providing a footing for the vines on this rocky, treacherous, pure schist soil. A few years earlier, Carles Ortiz, a native of Barcelona, and a trained Enologist in his own right had purchased nearly 5 hectares of vineyard land outside of Porrera called Finca Les Planetes. Here he resurrected many of the old vines but replanted much of the site with a massale selection of Garnatxa and Carinyena. Both Carles and Ester were early proponents of biodynamics in the Priorat, both lived in Porrera and both were young and available, so as these things are wont to happen… Familia Nin-Ortiz was born. With two viticulturists devoted to the principles of biodynamics, the farming at Familia Nin-Ortiz employs only organic materials including mineral sulfur in the vineyard, sprayed biodynamic infusions and applications of their own compost. They are members of Nicolas Joly’s organization, “La Renaissance des Appellations,” and share their knowledge with neighbors interested in pursuing the transition to biodynamic farming. Weeding is done by hand and the soils are plowed by mule in an effort to revitalize their soils. Harvesting, always by hand, commences early when pH levels are balanced by ripe fruit. When the fruit arrives at their cellar, newly completed in 2012, it is carefully sorted to remove any overripe fruit and partially destemmed, then chilled for 24-48 hours to prevent oxidation at the beginning of the winemaking process. Fermentations occur spontaneously and take place in foudre, demi-muid or amphorae. The goal at Familia Nin-Ortiz is to produce elegant wines so extraction is also natural, occurring without aggressive manipulation of the cap. Aging takes place in primarily neutral vessels so the purity of the site can be preserved. When they first launched Familia Nin-Ortiz there were just two wines – Nit de Nin from Mas d’En Caçador and Planetes from Finca Les Planetes. The range of wines has gradually expanded to include Planetes de Nin Blanc, a Carinyena Blanca from Finca Les Planetes, Selma, a white wine from Ester’s hometown of El Pla de Manlleu in the Alt-Penedès, a small-production Parellada Montonegra from a tiny vineyard also in the Penedès, an amphora-aged Garnatxa from Finca Les Planetes, and Nit de Nin Coma d’en Romeu from a newly purchased, south-facing site in Porrera with 70-year-old vines of Garnatxa planted on costers instead of terraces.
LUIS GUTIERREZ - WINE ADVOCATE
The 2013 Nit de Nin matured in 3,200-liter oak foudres for some 16 months, and wants to be an old-style blend of grapes from slope vineyards showcasing the typicity of Priorat. The full clusters from ancient vineyards fermented with indigenous yeasts and produced some 4,000 bottles that were filled in March 2015. I previously had the opportunity of tasting the wine just after being bottled and was somehow reduced and dizzy. Now it's a completely different story. The 16 months in bottle have polished the wine and the reductive character is completely gone. However, everything is subtler, it's not as explosive as when it is really young and shows its exuberance, there is a calmed beauty. The palate is always very refined with fantastic freshness and subtle minerality, pure and fresh, even if it's also very powerful.