In 2014, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Michael Baum bought the historical Château de Pommard with its 25 hectares of vines. In Bourgogne, this sort of transaction is vanishingly rare, especially when we’re talking about well situated vineyards.
Baum is rich beyond the dreams of avarice, having been one of the three founders (and is still the largest shareholder) in Splunk, which is an AI-based system for allowing firms to check their data systems. It’s widely used to the extent that its current market capitalization is $32 billion. And he has many other business interests. There’s an excellent piece on him and his choice to invest in a wine estate by Will Smale here.
He’s shifted farming to biodynamics and plans to grow production to 1 million bottles – not an easy task in a region where every grape has a home. He also plans to focus on high-end wine tourism. Unusually for Bougogne at this level, around 90% of sales are direct-to-consumer. The packaging is also quite distinctive.
These were tasted in June 2021:
Famille Carabello-Baum Meursault 2019 Bourgogne, France
14% alcohol. Wild ferment, 16 months in oak, one-quarter new. This is a rich and detailed Merusault. It has enticing aromas of nuts, toast, honey and spice with some melon and pear fruit. The palate has a fresh spicy framing to the bold pear and white peach fruit, with a nutty savoury element, and also some bready characters, as well as a subtle hint of coconut. There’s a lot of ripe fruit here, with good concentration and a seamless integration of the rich fruit and spicy oak characters. It’s hard to fault this village-level Meursault: at the moment, it’s delicious and primary, with lovely rich fruit, but it has good ageing potential too. A really good modern take on Meursault, and very well made. 94/100 (£53)
Famille Carabello-Baum Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2019 Bourgogne, France
14% alcohol. Wild ferment, 25% new oak. This is nicely aromatic with fruit to the fore: pear, citrus and some pineapple, as well as subtle nutty hints and just a touch of spice from the oak, which is nicely in the background. The palate shows great concentration, with the powerful citrus and pineapple fruit meshing beautifully with the oak, and a spicy grapefruit flourish on the margins reigning the ripeness in really well. Great concentration here, with the emphasis firmly on the fruit – a really stylish modern white Burgundy of real class. Has a lot of potential and should develop really nicely. 95/100 (£129)
Famille Carabello-Baum Nuits-Saint-Georges 2019 Bourgogne, France
14% alcohol. 60% whole cluster, 20% new oak. Sweetly perfumed and aromatic with a fine spicy edge to the lush black cherry fruit, with a hint of blackcurrant. Very rich and aromatic. The palate is sleek, textural and structured. The oak integrates perfectly with layers of spicy structure and sweet, dense but supple fruit. Really impressive and very stylish: structured and potentially long-lived even though it is delicious now. Such a lovely wine. 95/100 (£44)
Tasted in 2020:
Château de Pommard Cuvée Simone Pommard 2018 Bourgogne, France
13.5% alcohol. From a special plot with a distinctive terroir, 75% whole bunch, 40% new oak. This is quite astonishing. There’s a beautifully floral cherry fruit nose with hints of meat and dried herbs, and some fine spiciness. It’s all framed with this extremely supple greenness, that’s almost invisible but which makes an important contribution. The palate is fine and silky, with a smoothness, but also lovely density. There’s some blood and iodine complexity as well as a core of intense, refined berry and cherry fruit. Astonishingly pretty and elegant, this is fabulous stuff. 97/100 (£326)
Famille Carabello-Baum Ladoix Les Gréchons Premier Cru 2018 Bourgogne, France
13.6% alcohol. The last vineyard in the Côte de Beaune before the Côtes de Nuits. Negociant fruit. This is fresh and quite delicate, but there’s currently a strong vanilla and spice imprint from the barrel. Delicate with good concentration and some fine spicy notes as well as pear and white peach. And intriguing, delicate wine with a lot of class, which might develop in interesting ways. 92/100
Famille Carabello-Baum Meursault 2018 Bourgogne, France
13.6% alcohol. This is quite lovely, combining crystalline citrus fruit with some restrained, classy oak notes, almost completely assimilated in the dense, concentrated fruit. But as well as the weight, there’s also delicacy. Refined and beautifully poised, with complex layers of flavours, good acidity, and a mineral/saline streak that is really beguiling. So beautiful: polished and sophisticated, but profound and mineral with it. So stylish. 95/100
Famille Carabello-Baum Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2017 France
13% alcohol. This shows nice concentration and depth for a Bourgogne Rouge. It’s floral and expressive with a slight tarry, spicy edge to the fresh, bright berry fruits with great concentration and purity. This reminds me of a very good new world Pinot, with ripeness and depth of flavour not normally encountered at this level. Sophisticated stuff, with some grip. 92/100
Château de Pommard Clos Marey-Monge Monopole 2017 Pommard, Bourgogne, France
13.5% alcohol. Concentrated and structured, with vivid raspberry and red cherry fruit, a slight lift, and notes of tar and spice. There’s fresh berry fruit on the palate with some spiciness and grainy detail, as well as good acidity. Quite a structural wine with a firm, grippy edge to the focused berry fruits. Taut, with potential for development. 93/100
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