The Wine: Tranquilo Cellars El Sueño Tinto de Tejas  

Who Likes It: Darrin Baumunk, Corporate Wine Buyer for Max’s Wine Dive of Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth as well as sister concepts The Boiler House and The Tasting Room. 

The grapes: El Sueño is a blend of 78 percent Tempranillo, twelve percent Mataro, five percent Grenache and five percent Syrah.  

“These grapes all grow well in the Texas High Plains appellation,” Baumunk said. “At about 3,400 feet above sea level and with thirty-degree diurnal temperature swings,” says Baumunk. “It makes one of the best places in Texas to grow these varietals. The conditions provide a complexity and intensity that may otherwise be difficult to find in Texas.”

Why he likes it: “Max’s owner Jerry Lasco and I have been looking for just the right wine from Texas to sell in our restaurants,” Baumunk said. “After a few years of searching, wine broker Jay Alvis, who owns the Tranquilo Cellars brand, introduced us to Kim McPherson of McPherson Cellars. We collaborated on a blend that would showcase his talent and how special the wines are from Texas.”

Suggested Pairings: The earthiness in this wine with underlying dark fruit characteristics make it a great candidate for grilled meats and rich, spicy flavors. Think sliders with grilled onions and pickles or pulled pork sandwiches with peppers. 

On Down the Road: “There are several emerging wine producing regions in the world who wish to compete on a national and international level and the only way for them to succeed is to make better quality wine at a competitive price,” Baumunk said. “When I stop for a moment, and look down the road, I see remarkable Texans doing it bigger and better than many in the wine business—and it is really exciting.” 

A Note From the Winemakers: “This wine is so easy to drink,” said McPherson, who has often worked with other retailers and restaurants to make proprietary wines. “It’s not edgy and sharp like some Tempranillos can be. That’s because the Mataro, Grenache and Syrah work to add both complexity and finesse as well as a distinct balance of dark fruit and earthiness.” 

Availability: El Sueño can be found at all Max’s Wine Dive locations as well as online at the McPherson Cellars winery, which also sells this second label wine. 

Price: $16 at McPherson Cellars, $21.99 at Max’s Wine Dive.