If your not familiar with Pontotoc Vineyard and its owner Carl Money you probably don’t know about his wine passion and the passion he’s been able to get into his wines. Since inception, Pontotoc Vineyard has been a bastion of red wines, 100 percent Texas-grown, with a strong Spanish and Iberian influence; examples being: 2019 Sam Fernado Academy red blend: 48% Touriga Nacional / 18% Tempranillo / 10% Graciano / 8% Grenache / 8% Mourvedre / 8% Petit Sirah, and 2020 Estate Tempranillo having their brilliant ruby color with cherry, black current, toasted oak, with brambley yet pleasant under tones. His vintages go back to 2011.
But, in 2017, Carl began to cultivate and interest a white wine made from Texas-grown Albariño grapes whose heritage comes from Basque Spain, also called “Green Spain” because of its proximity in the moist and green Atlantic Ocean of Spain. I received a bottle of a 2020 Pontotoc Vineyard, Enchanted Rock Albariño. It is an award winner, for sure, 100% Estate grown at Enchanted Rock Vineyards, Gillespie County, Texas.
Why all of Carl’s interest in Iberian and Spanish grapes? Well, in 2003, Carl and his wife Frances purchased a historic German Estate in Mason County and immediately began restoring the sandstone farm house and clearing the fields with the vision of planting a vineyard. Having first learned about viticulture while studying abroad in Austria and drawn further into it while teaching law in Spain, Carl had long dreamed of establishing a vineyard in his native Texas. Over the course of a few years, Carl, with the able assistance of family and friends, especially Carl’s father, Donnie Money, established approximately five acres of Tempranillo vines.
Let me talk a bit more about this wine… The Pontotoc Vineyard, 2020 Enchanted Rock Albariño, is definitely enchanting at first sight and taste. It is a medium straw to light gold color with the wine offering up a captivating yet not overly done bouquet of violets, lime, minerals and salty air. The palate follows with ripe pear, melon, green apple, melon overlaid on a bed of crisp acidity and minerals on the finish.
By the way, the word ”Pontotoc” in certain Native American dialects means “Land of Hanging Grapes” and the Money’s Pontotoc Vineyard was planted in the fertile red sand soil of a high valley surrounded by pink granite outcroppings and sandstone hills of the Llano Uplift in Mason County. The farm and nearby settlement was originally founded by the German Emigration Company in 1872. The community once promised to be a large town with an institute of higher education, but later succumbed to tragedy and failure in the the rugged and harsh days of the early Texas frontier.
Click here for more information and history on Pontotoc Vineyard and the original settlement. One of Carl’s goals is to re-establish commercial activities in Pontotoc including a tasting room.
Not planning a trip to Mason county, no worries. Pontotoc Vineyard’s Weingarten is nestled in a quaint cottage with an authentic weinkeller in a stone walled courtyard in historic downtown Fredericksburg, Texas.
Similar to those in Vienna, Austria, the Pontotoc’s weingarten provides a family atmosphere in an intimate environment for sharing a picnic of excellent local food and wine. It’s located at: 320 West Main Street, Fredericksburg, Texas 78624. Click here for more information and hours of operations on Thursday Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
If you are driving in from Austin through Johnson City, look for the Pontotoc Vineyard sign on the south side of Route 290 near the small community of Hye, Texas. It is the home of the Money family’s other venture Camp Wanderlust, a field stone cottage nestled into a stand of 100 year old oak trees at 7899 West Highway 290 Hye, Texas 78635, right on the Route 290 Wine Trail. Click here to book it online.