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The Beauty of Burgundy Vintages ending in '9': Famille Carabello-Baum 2019s

Cleverly branded corks – Château de Pommard is worked organically and biodynamically, as are many of the wines under the Famille Carabello-Baum label

I wrote about the Carabello-Baum family and their purchase of Château de Pommard, here, together with tasting notes on seven of the 2018 whites and 2017 reds, so I'm confining myself in this post to four wines: three newly released 2019s that I recently tasted and talked about (on zoom) with winemaker Emmanuel Sala and owner Michael Baum; and to a wine that Michael describes as "the pride and joy of the estate", Château de Pommard Simone, the 2018 vintage of which was released in January.

The 2019 vintage is one of Emmanuel's favourites. "Vintages ending in nine are always beautiful," he says. "It was dry and warm but with more freshness than 2018."

Famille Carabello-Baum Meursault 2019, £53

From the high part of Meursault, harvested 16 September with a yield of 30hl/ha. Fermented for 5 months, with no added yeasts, in Nièvre oak barriques (20% new, light toast, three coopers), then aged in them for 16 months.

Translucent, pale lemon. A ripe, but fresh nose with citrus, cream, grilled nuts and a fresh mineral note. The palate is silky and sweet-fruited with succulent lemon-curd fruit off-set by a delicious grapefruit zest, bitter-fresh energy; there's an underlay of smoke and grilled nuts, and polished sweet oak. Fleshy and ripe, rather than mineral or saline (Emmanuel described it as "a little bit old-school"), but with definition, precision and suppleness sustained by creaminess, lemony zing and freshness. Very easy to drink, and ready now but with anchoring, citrus-zest acidity to hold for five-plus years. 13.8–14%


Famille Carabello-Baum Corton-Charlemagne 2019, £129

From the En Charlemagne lieu dit, harvested 20 September with a yield of just 24hl/ha (reduced by poor flowering). Four barrels made each year, fermented with indigenous yeasts in new French oak barrels (25% new maximum) and aged in them for 16 months.

Very pale. Crystallised lemon, grilled nuts, light buttered-toast and an intense almost Chablis-like briny, saline freshness. The palate goes from salty, preserved lemon, pink grapefruit and apple through concentrated, savoury saltiness, subtle creamy texture and beautiful, polished oak carried by laser-precise acidity. Intense, compressed, taut, persistent; powerful but refined. Altogether very impressive.

I corked the tasting sample up immediately and drank it the next day with a dressed Cromer crab and it was a perfect match. I wasn't expecting such a good match, but the wine had opened up and the concentration, the acidity, the slightly bitter grapefruit note and the sweet oak were perfect with the sweet intensity and richness of the crab. Ideally drink from 2024 to 2040, but it's delicious already. 14%.


Famille Carabello-Baum Nuits-Saint-George 2019, £44

Harvested 23 September, 60% whole cluster, 4-week fermentation in stainless steel with pigeage towards the end only. 16 months' ageing in medium-toast French oak, of which 20% is new, the rest is mainly 2–3 years old and it's one part Allier, one part Nièvre and one part northern Burgundy. Emmanuel says he's using more and more of this latter oak – "it's very subtle".

An enticing, appetising nose of ripe, bright, sweet fruit – strawberries, raspberries and fragrant roses – and a forest-floor bass note that gives savoury depth. The palate is generous and deep with red fruit richness, earthy spice and silky fine tannins balanced by rocky freshness and energy. Drink from 2022 until 2026, if you like your Burgundy young, and until 2040 if you want to see truffle-like notes emerge. 14%


Château de Pommard Simone 2018, £347

A production of 1800 bottles from the smallest of the seven distinct terroirs in the 20–ha Clos Marey-Monge. Simone, a 0.53-ha plot in the west of the Clos, right by Château Marey-Monge, has an exceptional clay density (higher than Pétrus, Richebourg and Musigny) and was planted in 1986 – not old by the Clos' standards, which has vines of 120 years. Harvest was very early – September 4 – after a record-breaking hot, dry season, and the yield was 40hl/ha compared with a Simone average of 25–30hl/ha (only 16hl/ha in 2020 and 22hl/ha in 2017). The goal in 2018, says Emmanuel, was to preserve the freshness and then to choose the right oak for it: he did whole cluster for the first time – a high 75%; and of the 8 barrels, the majority were Vosges with a "very very light toast", 3 were new, 4 were from 2017 and one was older. The wine was in oak for 20 months before a light filtration and bottling.

Tasted at the end of November 2020: Intensely perfumed with raspberry, red cherry, peony, spice, incense and a touch of autumn forest. The palate is succulent and supple with orange-peel and mineral vitality flowing through the red fruit and floral sweetness. Very silky tannins. The plumpness and fleshiness both enclose and are contained by the elegant but evident structure and the ripeness is similarly moored by the freshness. Magnetic. You can drink it now (I did after I'd tasted it), but perhaps better to drink it 2028–2040



All wines available from Château de Pommard for delivery worldwide.

Photographs by Joanna Simon


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