Grower Champagne Club – July 2018

Paul Bara, Brut Réserve Grand Cru, NV, $75
We’ve included several Champagnes from Paul Bara over the years. Their small estate was established in 1860 in the Grand Cru village of Bouzy and today they are considered to be one of the most renowned producers in the Montagne de Reims. In his book, The New France, Andrew Jefford called Paul Bara Champagnes, “essential references for anyone who wants to enjoy and understand the ripe, dry richness of Bouzy.” The 11-hectare estate (with 9.5 hectares planted to Pinot Noir and 1.5 to Chardonnay) is now run by Paul’s daughter, Chantale, who is ably keeping the family tradition and house style alive, assisted by Christian Forget, the estate’s chief winemaker since 1987. Their Grand Cru wines are sourced from fruit averaging 35 years in age, grown on the deep, chalky clay and limestone soil that imparts intense fruit flavor and stunning minerality to their wines. They age all of their wines at least two years in their underground cellars, carved out of the chalk soil, an astonishing 30 feet below the ground. Thier Grand Cru Brut Réserve, typically a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, is aged three years before release and gets about eight grams dosage. It is fresh and delicate, yet powerful, with complex flavors of white peaches, brioche, and a hint of spice. The winery suggests enjoying it as an aperitif, or with scallops or shrimp. Bruce Neyers, a California winemaker who has worked with Bara’s importer, Kermit Lynch, for two decades writes: “Bara epitomizes all that is wonderful about Old World, hand-crafted Champagne…There’s simply nothing to compare them to.”