NV Paul Bara, Brut Réserve, Grand Cru, $68
This isn’t the first time we’ve featured this producer in the club.
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 Paul 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, who is keeping the family tradition and house style alive. Their vines, which average 35 years in age, are planted in deep, chalky clay and limestone soil that imparts intense fruit expression and great mineral complexity. 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.” This Champagne is light enough to serve as an aperitif, but has the body to stand up to heavier fare, such as scallop or shrimp dishes, butternut squash and goat cheese ravioli, or even chicken Mulligatawny soup.