This year kicks off with a Tempranillo for Texas Wine of the Month. By now, you should be fairly familiar with the prevalence of this grape. It’s turning heads in Texas blends (McPherson Cellars La Herencia) as well as in single-varietal wines (Inwood Estates Vineyards “Cornelius” Tempranillo). This month, we celebrate a wine devoted solely to Tempranillo grapes—most of which were grown in the Hill Country. It’s an elegant representation of just how great this grape can be in Texas. In fact, it was one of the top 10 Texas Monthly Wines of 2012. And it comes from a winery in Stonewall that continues to make strides in the emerging Texas wine industry.

The Wine: Pedernales Cellars Tempranillo Reserve 2010

Who Likes It: This wine was selected in conjunction with Adam Danielson, wine director for Parkside, Olive & June and The Backspace in Austin. Danielson has been in the restaurant business since he was 15 and his ongoing love for wine led him to take on restaurant wine programs by the age of 25. He even spent six years in Santa Barbara getting his hands dirty in vineyards and wineries to further his knowledge.

Why He Likes It: “This wine has bright red and dark fruits with a touch of spice on the nose,” says Danielson. “There’s also cedar and earth on the back end giving this wine great structure and complexity. It’s medium-bodied and well balanced.”

Suggested Pairings: “The structure of this Tempranillo would pair perfectly with the rustic gamey qualities of rabbit such as the rabbit risotto at Olive & June.

On Down the Road: “I think that Texas wine is right where it needs to be right now,” says Danielson. “There are some great producers who are focusing on warm climate varietals from Spain, Portugal and Italy. As winemakers and growers continue to learn from each other and tinker with better farming practices that are Texas-specific I think that the quality and consistency needed to make an impact on the domestic and global market will continue to increase.”