perissosPerissos Vineyards, located in Hill Country northwest of Austin, is one of the few wineries in this region using mostly estate-grown fruit. (Most Texas grapes are grown in the high plains near Lubbock). Dedicated to exhibiting the distinctiveness of Texas fruit, especially from their 16-acre vineyard which, unique in this region, rests on decomposed granite, Perissos has been making award winning wines at this location since 2005. Of the roughly 30 wineries we have visited in Texas, Perissos is among the very best in overall quality and this Tempranillo is a standout.

Abundant aromas of cherry and tobacco mingle with rosemary, forest floor and hints of fennel—there is even a shy touch of charming funk to complete this variegated portrait of fragrances. It’s rich and juicy upfront, and then turns high-toned and edgy as the midpalate announces electric minerality animating the licorice-tinted finish. Soft tannins provide a persistent background presence. Polished and stylish yet lively with soaring kinetic energy, this wine is as irresistible as a pair of well-matched, eager, young lovers.

Higher apparent acidity than most versions of this grape but well balanced with rich fruit, the winemaking shows a deft touch with the oak, thankfully avoiding the curse of woody Tempranillo.

Score: 91

Price: $45

Alc: 13.3%

Pat Benatar’s Love is a Battlefield has the blend of style and altitude to match this wine.