Grower Champagne Club – February 2021

Paul Bara, Brut Réserve, Grand Cru, $78
In general, we try not to feature wines from the same producer in quick succession. But what can we say? We tasted two Champagnes from Paul Bara recently and loved them both. We featured the Rosé in our January club and, since this one was equally stunning, we’ve decided to break our unwritten rule and offer it this month. To recap the story from last month, Champagne Paul Bara was established in 1833 in the Grand Cru village of Bouzy and is considered one of the most renowned producers in the Montagne de Reims. Andrew Jefford, author of the acclaimed book, The New France, calls Bara’s Champagnes “essential references for anyone who wants to enjoy and understand the ripe, dry richness of Bouzy.” The wines are now made by Paul’s daughter, Chantale. Their vines, which average 35 years in age, are planted in deep, chalky clay and limestone soil that imparts intense fruit flavor and amazing minerality. This Brut Réserve is their signature Champagne, made to reflect their house style and the unique character of their Bouzy vineyards. A blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, it gets seven grams per liter dosage and is aged six years on the lees. The Brut Réserve is richly textured and elegant with great depth, warm flavors of toasty brioche, and complex aromas of stone fruit and spice. Noted Champagne expert and author Peter Liem writes, “Bara’s Champagnes are classic examples of Bouzy, with a full body and an ample, fruity ripeness … At the same time they demonstrate an unusual refinement and finesse — they tend to feel velvety in their depth of fruit and seamless in their integration of components.” Enjoy this one as an aperitif or with scallops or shrimp.