This wine takes its name from a UNESCO world heritage site in Southern Patagonia. Cueva de las Manos, or Cave of the Hands, features paintings of hands made by indigenous inhabitants between 9,300 and 13,000 years ago. The images of the hands are stenciled and painted in red, black, white and yellow.
Even though they're in the same country, it's still a long trip north from Southern Patagonia to the wine country of Mendoza, in the shadow of the Andes. We'd recommend a flight rather than a bus to get from the original Cueva de las Manos to the vineyards that bear its name. Here, 34 kilometers south of the city of Mendoza, the vineyards of Cueva de las Manos spread across almost 200 acres, at 950 meters above sea level.
Malbec is the second most highly planted grape here, following Cabernet Sauvignon, but all of the vines benefit from the warm days and cool nights that come with the high elevation. This climate ensures grapes that are highly ripe, but not overcooked by constant heat. Furthermore, the dry conditions in the mountains keeps vineyards free of fungal diseases, mitigating the need for spraying.
The wine sees twelve months in oak barrels, half French and half American, which imparts greater tannic structure as well as greater complexity. The finished wine is deep red in color with violet hints. The nose reveals dried plum and dark fruits, exotic spices, hints of violet and chocolate. Expect fruity flavors and well balanced, elegant tannins.
The vineyards of Mendoza
Argentina is famous for grass-fed steaks. For good reason -- grilled steaks are the perfect match for Malbec, Argentina's signature varietal.