by The Traveling Winers
A little slice of Europe in a little town in Texas. That’s what you’ll find when you visit Pontotoc Vineyards’ Weingarten in small town Fredericksburg. Quaint, cozy and welcoming, the tasting room is fashioned after Weingartens in Vienna, Austria where owner Carl Money spent much of his time in earlier years. A still-practicing attorney by trade, Carl has ventured into a side business of farming grapes and creating wine, calling on his family’s fifth-generation experience in Texas farming. And we are here to tell you that they are doing a smashup job at Pontotoc Vineyards. Their wines are top notch, flavorful, complex and something to write home about.
The Land of Hanging Grapes Has a New Owner
Interesting name, Pontotoc. Turns out it is the Chickasaw Indian word for “land of hanging grapes”. So very apropos. So here’s the story as told by Carl.
Back in the 1840s, there was a source of unrest in Germany which propagated an exodus from some German citizens. Some of these citizens found their way to Texas and settled in an area which is now in Mason County. The German Emigration Company built a community for their fellow German emigrants which offered farming, ranching, mining and higher education. However, in 1887 the typhoid fever epidemic wiped out nearly the entire town, completely filling up the local cemetery forcing a new burial place to be established. Nearly 10 years later, a man moved to the town from Pontotoc, Mississippi and started calling his new home Pontotoc. The name stuck. Today the town is small and unincorporated and is where Carl purchased the land for his vineyard, a farm that was originally founded by the German Emigration Company.
But wait, there’s more! Carl also bought the town! Yes, he purchased all of the old buildings in Pontotoc – the old grocery store, hardware store, post office, barber shop, and movie theater – and has restored and converted several of them. The grocery and hardware store are now the Pontotoc Vineyard Weinhalle and Winery. The old post office now serves as the home for Dotson & Cervantes winery. And the barbershop houses the Akashic Vineyard Winery. The old movie theater has also been redone and hosts film screenings, live music, and other theatrical performances.
And then, of course, there is the tasting room in Fredericksburg. This small building also has a history. It just happens to be the oldest building in Fredericksburg, built in 1846, by once again, the German Emigration Company. Well, Carl really did buy the entire kit n caboodle.
100% MEANS 100% at Pontotoc!
Carl was proud to tell us that Pontotoc Vineyards is the only winery in the area that uses 100% Texas Hill Country fruit in 100% of their wines. He is very adamant about the fact that this distinction is extremely important. Currently, the Texas law states that in order to put “Texas Wine” on the label you only have to use 75% Texas fruit in the winemaking. This means that the other 25% can come from California, Oregon, or anywhere. Carl is working to change that law. He says, “That’s our philosophy we have here. Who wants to spend $30-40 for a Texas bottle of wine only to know that it’s not from Texas? They wanna see what you can do. Our philosophy is to make the highest quality wine you can using 100% Texas Hill Country fruit. It is very simple.”
And they stick to their guns on this issue. Their Tempranillo is 100% estate grown. Their other wines all have either the Texas Hill Country on their label, or are even more specific and have Mason County Texas proudly displayed. And of course, whatever the label, you can be assured that it is 100% from that region. A true taste of the Texas Hill Country terroir.
Their Wine Selection
2015 Smoothing Iron Mountain – 56% Tempranillo, 34% Alicante Bouschet, 10% Merlot – The Winers thought this was the best wine they had tasted all day! Flavors of blackberry, black pepper, and lightly toasted oak. Miki also noticed leather in the bouquet and a nice long lingering finish.
2016 Estate Tempranillo – Flavors of candied cherries, red plum, and toasted oak, with a bit of pepper at the end.
2015 San Fernando Academy – 40% Syrah, 28% Alicante Bouschet, 22% Merlot, 5% Malbec, 4% Mourvedre, 1% Tempranillo – Full-bodied with flavors of black currant, boysenberry, pepper, and toasted oak. The finish was silky smooth with well-rounded tannins.
The Winer’s Experience
|AMBIANCE||GROUNDS & SCENERY||TASTING ROOM|
|German-like tavern feel, fun, warm and cozy, family atmosphere||Quaint to say the least! Really does have the feel of a Weingarten or Biergarten. Come with friends and plan to stay a while.||Same as Grounds & Scenery. Small and cozy, but so are Weingartens. They have done a great job at making the whole kit n caboodle a fun place to hang out and sample their wine.|
|WINE TASTING EXPERIENCE||CUSTOMER SERVICE||TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE|
|Very educational and fun. Our host really made it a fun experience by joking around with us. She can really read people well!||Excellent, very friendly and helpful. Don’t try to leave without sampling the sangria….Marnie will get you!||Marnie was very well educated on the wine and the history of the winery and the owner/winemaker. We also met with the owner, Carl Money, who really took us in for an even deeper dive into the history of Pontotoc and the issue with labeling and perspective of growing location. Very enlightening.|
Vineyard & Winery Information
|Pontotoc Vineyard||320 West Main Street, Fredericksburg, TX 78624|
|Fri – Sat 12 pm – 8 pm
Sun 12 pm – 5 pm
|MUSIC||WINE CLUB||TASTING FEE|
|Check event calendar||Yes||$8|
|Self-guided||Yes, snack basket available|