Real winemakers get their hands dirty. Hands black with wine. That’s what Manos Negras is all about. Rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands dirty. That’s how we make these hand crafted wines.
Manos Negras is born from the friendship of an American Wine Educator, an Argentine viticulturalist and two Kiwi winemakers, all with extensive international experience and a no nonsense, hardnosed work ethic. Jeff Mausbach has spent the last 13 years as Wine Education Director for Bodega Catena Zapata. He has travelled the world preaching the gospel of the unique character of Argentine wines. Alejandro Sejanovich was Vineyard director for Bodega Caetna Zapata for 15 years. He pioneered high altitude vineyard planting and conducted ground breaking research on Mendoza Malbec clones. Jason Mabbett was a professor of winemaking at Auckland University, he then made wine for Rosemount in Australia, Jess Jackson in California, and Gascon in Argentina. Duncan Killiner has made wine from Israel to Uruguay, from Italy to Chile. He is currently winemaking consultant for Indomita of Chile and Viu Manent & Viniterra in Argentina. Jeff Mausbach Alejandro Sejanovich
LATITUDE WINEMAKING Argentina & Chile have some of the most extensive, diverse range of winemaking regions in the world, stretching some 1,500 miles from Salta at 22º latitude south to the far reaches of Patagonia at more than 40º latitude south. All of these regions boast the beautiful back drop of the majestic Andes, some of the highest mountains in the world. In Argentina,the snow capped peaks act as a cloud curtain blocking the Pacific ocean weather fronts, creating desert vineyards throughout the country. On the Chilean side, the marine influence helps keep temperatures moderate and stable. Each latitude possesses a unique terroir with singular combinations of soil and temperature which are ideally suited for different varietals.
ARGENTINA Argentina’s most dominant characteristic is the desert conditions which reign throughout its many diverse wine regions. These desert conditions boast plentiful sunshine for ripeness and require the use of irrigation – which can be an important tool for reducing yields and increasing concentration. One of the key factors in defining each region’s terroir is the combination between altitude, latitude, temperature. Lower temperatures bring slower, more even ripening, and better balance in the wine. At northerly latitudes with closer proximity to the equator, top quality vineyards must be planted at the dizzying heights of 9,000’ elevation. In Patagonia, much further from the equator, vineyards are planted at sea level and still have very cool temperatures. In addition, each latitude possesses a unique terroir with singular combinations of soil and temperature which are ideally suited for different varietals.
2009 Torrontes – 91 points The Wine Advocate, October 31, 2010 Torrontes is the signature white grape from Argentina. The high altitude and northerly latitude of the Tulum Valley in San Juan provide the ideal conditions for this once minor Spanish grape to flourish as nowhere else in the world. The warm sunny days and cool mountain nights produce a wine of light yellow color, with explosive floral aromas, citrus fruit flavours and a crisp, clean finish.
SAN JUAN – A DIFFERENT TORRONTES San Juan is just north of Mendoza and is the second largest wine making province in Argentina with 113,760 acres under vine. Located at 32º south latitude, the wine growing regions vary from 1,900’ (580 m) to 4,450’ (1,350 m) elevation. Average temperature is 64º F (17.6º C). Irrigation water is channeled off of the San Juan and Jachal rivers.
Varietal: 100% Torrontes Region: Tulum Valley, San Juan 1,200 m (3,800’) elevation Aging: No oak aging No malolactic fermentation Total Acidity / pH: 6.4 / 3.3
2008 Pinot Noir – 90 points The Wine Advocate, October 31, 2010 It is rather ironic that that the finicky Pinot Noir chose the rugged hinterlands of Patagonia’s far southerly vineyards to show its unique South American expression. This wine was sourced from the heart of Pinot country – Añelo, in the far reaches of Neuquen. These wind swept vineyards with their cool southerly temperatures produce a wine of deep red color, with floral aromas, ripe red fruit flavours and a soft, supple texture.
AÑELO, NEUQUEN – ARGENTINA’S PINOT COUNTRY Neuquen is located at 40° latitude south and is one of the southermost wine regions in Argentina. While altitude is low at around 1,600’, the far southerly location offers very cool temperatures, with averages around 62° F. Bright red, iron rich soils lend minerality and complexity, as well as offering excellent drainage. Irrigation water comes from the Rio Neuquen. The cool southerly temperatures provide a delicate style of Pinot Noir, with pretty floral aromas, bright cherry fruit and supple texture.
Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir Region: Añelo, Neuquen 480 m (1,500’) elevation Aging: 12 months in French oak 20% new Total Acidity / pH: 5.9 / 3.6
2007 Malbec– 90 points The Wine Advocate, October 31, 2010 Malbec is the undisputed signature grape from Argentina. The high altitude desert oasis of Mendoza has provided the ideal conditions for this once minor French blending grape to unfurl its strengths as nowhere else in the world. The bright sunny days give a deep blackish color and dark fruit flavours while the cool mountain nights produce violet aromas and a soft, supple texture.
ALTAMIRA, MENDOZA – A UNIQUE MALBEC TERROIR Altamira is the heart of Malbec country in Mendoza, located in the far southerly corner of the Uco Valley. The San Polo vineyard is a 50 year old Malbec vineyard in this prized appellation. Bright sunny days of exceptionally intense sunshine provide ripe, sweet dark fruit profile with richness, concentration and softness. Low mountain temperatures, especially at night, provide for intense violet aromatics and bright, racy acidity. Poor, shallow, well drained sandy soils lend a noticeable miner
Varietal: 100% Malbec Region: Altamira, Mendoza 1,200 m (3,800’) elevation Fermentation: Max. Temp 24º C. 12 days, 28 day maceration. Aging: 12 months in French oak 30% new Total Acidity / pH: 5.4 / 3.5
CHILE Chile’s most dominant characteristic is the marine influence from the Pacific Ocean. At different latitudes, wine regions are closer or further away from the sea – an important aspect in defining its growing conditions. One of the key effects of Chile’s marin influence is on temperatures and relative humidity levels. The stabilizing effect of ocean proximity keeps temperatures low, resulting in slower more even ripening and the retention of natural acidity for freshness and balance. Higher levels of realtive humidity aldo keep the vines healthy, ensuring heightened levesl of photosynthesis and ripening. In addition, each latitude possesses a unique terroir with singular combinations of soil and temperature which are ideally suited for different varietals.
2009 Sauvignon Blanc Sauvignon Blanc has chosen the cool coastal Casablanca valley to reveal its unique Chilean expression. Morning fog blowing off the nearby Pacific Ocean keeps temperatures low, allowing the fruit to develop bright citric fruit flavors. The tempering influence of the cold Pacific waters helps the grapes retain clean crisp acidity.
CASABLANCA – A COOL OCEAN BREEZE Casablanca is a coastal valley, located 18 kilometers from the sea, on the costal planes of the region and surrounded by the coastal mountain range.It has a marked maritime influence, the climate mostly cold with morning fog and a wide thermal range between day a night favoring the slow maturity of the grape. The maritime influence enters in the form of cool breezes around midday and mist - large masses of humid air - around dawn. The air that enter is cold due to the fact that the Pacific Ocean along the Chilean coast is affected by the cold Humboldt Current from the Antartic.
Varietal: 100% Sauvignon Blanc Region: Casablanca Valley 18 Kms from Ocean Aging: No oak aging No malolactic fermentation Total Acidity / pH: 6.5 / 3.2
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Sauvignon helped put Chile on the international wine map, and the region of Alto Maipo, at 2,500’ elevation, produces its most elegant, balanced expression. The morning sun must scale the Argentine side of the Andes, keeping the vines cool. The afternoon sun warms the vineyards, allowing the vines to produce rich, ripe fruit flavors. The cool mountain breezes that slide down the hillsides at night help the grapes retain bright natural acidity for elegance and balance.
ALTO MAIPO– CHILE’S BEST CABERNET SAUVIGNON Rising into the Andean foothills, the Alto Maipo section ranges from roughly 1,300 to 2,600 feet (400 to 800 meters) above sea level and is highly influenced by the mountains themselves. The rising sun must scale the Argentine side of the peaks before first morning light reaches the vines on its western—Chilean—slopes. The afternoon sun warms the vineyards and the cool mountains breezes that slide down the hillsides at night create a broad thermal amplitude. These are ideal conditions for bold yet elegant red wines, especially the regional star, Cabernet Sauvignon.
Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon Region: Alto Maipo 800 m (2,600’) elevation Aging: 12 months in French oak 20% new Total Acidity / pH: 5.8 / 3.7
2009 Carmenere Carmenere has quickly developed into Chile’s signature red wine grape. It disappeared in European vineyards in the mid-1800s and reappeared in Chile more than 100 years later. Needing a long growing season to reach ripeness, the cool moderate autumns in Colchagua allow Carmenere to develop its signature dark, rich fruit flavors and full, yet soft texture.
COLCHAGUA– CARMENÉRÈRE COUNTRY The southernmost portion of the Rapel Valley is one of Chile’s best known wine regions and has earned much applause for its full-bodied Carmenere. Low humidity, the Pacific Ocean's maritime influence and the breeze from the Andes Mountain Range generate an ideal condition for grape growing, especially in the summer months (November - April), where thermal variation fluctuates up to 22° C (62° F).
Varietal: 100% Carmenérè Region: Colchagua Fermentation: Max. Temp 22º C. 14 days, 24 day maceration. Aging: 12 months in French oak 30% new Total Acidity / pH: 5.2 / 3.6