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 Borougne at this level, around 90% of sales are direct-to-consumer. The packaging is also quite distinctive.
I tried four of the wines.
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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