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Compulsive Crushing

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Finger-squeezing at Trapiche

© Trapiche/Frederick Wildman
Finger-squeezing at Trapiche

Ever since a lunch last week, when I had the opportunity to taste a slew of single-vineyard Malbecs from Argentina's Trapiche winery, I've been trying to wrap my mind around something flabbergasting that I was told there. When we came to the last wine of the tasting, a luscious deep, dark, black cherry-flavored Malbec called Manos, Gustavo Arroyat, Trapiche's Export Manager, informed us that wine is called Manos because it's entirely handmade. Not only are the grapes hand-harvested, and the best bunches hand-selected and hand-sorted, but each and every grape is hand-pressed. Meaning, each grape is squeezed between a human finger and thumb to release its juices. Now, call me a cynic, but I've have had a hard time buying this. Foot-stomping grapes, sure, but finger-squeezing?

Well, express doubt, and ye shall receive. In response to my queries came the above photo. For obvious reasons, there's not much Manos around—only about 500 cases—and at $90 it's definitely pricey, but the inaugural 2004 vintage has loads of juicy black fruit and an elegant structure. It's a perfect match for barbecue, especially the sweet-glazed Kansas City Spareribs from Blue Smoke that I had with it that day. — Megan D. Krigbaum

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