From: Montagne de Reims, Champagne, France
Blend: 90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay
Taste and Critical Acclaim: An enticing and complex bouquet with a fresh edge. Layers of citrus fruits, honey, and dried flowers exude from the bottle to combine with fleshy fruits and a subtle touch of spices. The palate is astonishingly fresh with heady hints of strawberry and a white flower finish.
“Candied apricot, dried flowers, chamomile and spice give the 2014 Brut Grand Millésime a real sense of exoticism that is impossible to miss. Ample and creamy, the 2014 possesses terrific resonance and plenty of depth, all in a style that can be enjoyed with minimal, if any, cellaring. Drinking window: 2020 - 2028.” –Vinous, 92 points
“Champagne lovers like to talk about how great Champagne pairs with food. Not all bottlings from this revered region fit that bill. Non-vintage, entry-level Champagne tends to sing best all by itself, or perhaps with just some simple appetizers. Vintage bottles, on the other hand, have more grip and a bit of weight than their blended counterparts and often have their best moments at the table. The 2014 Brut Grand Cru from Bara is one such wine. Don’t just pair with classic white wine dishes, but stretch your imagination and try with lighter red wine pairings—roasted bird, pork chops (see our recipe below!) or tenderloin, or hearty vegetable dishes.” —Clark Z. Terry
Citrus-Glazed Pork Chops With Gingery Bok Choy
By Yewande Komolafe
The Montagne de Reims boasts some of the best Pinot Noir in the region, and Bouzy is its capital. The key to Bouzy’s greatness lies in its deep, chalky subsoil, which imparts intense fruit expression and great mineral complexity in its grand cru wines. The village of Bouzy and Champagne Paul Bara are practically synonymous. As the published village historian, Paul is indelibly linked to the lore of his hometown. Many argue that he is their most renowned producer: one of the rare récoltants-manipulants in a region inundated with the mass-produced wines of the large, corporate champagne houses. These récoltants-manipulants, or R.M.s as they are known, still make their own wines with estate-grown fruit and a personalized touch.
The first records of the Bara family date from the 1600s, in the villages of Bisseuil, Oiry and Chouilly, near Epernay. In 1833, Auguste François Bara, a robust, full-spirited young man, arrived in Bouzy to begin work as a cooper. Three years later, in 1836, he married Annonciade Robert, who owned some vines. The current Bara property was built in 1860 as a farm with stables, a cow shed, a sheep pen, and a cellar; however, in 1965, the barn was transformed into a press room and a winery. Paul Bara, the father of today's owner, Chantale, was the first of the dynasty to sell champagne under the same name brand in the 1950s. Chantale recalls how her father often said, “we must keep hold of the fields to feed us.”
In 1975, the Bara champagne house became one of the first to export its champagnes to the United States. Today, the brand has a long-standing transatlantic sales tradition and continues to work with Kermit Lynch. In 1980, Chantale began assisting her father, and in 1986, began to co-run the business. She initiated a major winery renovation in 2013 to enhance its winemaking capacity and precision. On top of her role as the sixth generation at the helm of her family’s estate, Chantale has also worked for years with the Club Trésors de Champagne.
The estate employs Pinot Noir specialist, Christian Forget, to make wines that display the rich and highly expressive character for which Pinot Noir from Bouzy is famed. Forget manages 11 hectares (26 acres), including 9.5 hectares of Pinot Noir and 1.5 hectares of Chardonnay. The house avoids using chemical weedkillers or insecticides in these vineyards, which are planted with cover crops in between vines to preserve biodiversity and soil quality. In 2020, Champagne Paul Bara received the HVE "Haute Valeur Environnementale" and VDC "Viticulture Durable en Champagne" certifications.
This wine comes from low-yielding vines with an average age of 36 years. As is typical with the finest champagnes, it is made from only the free-run juice that comes directly from the first press. Fermentation occurs in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks with no malolactic fermentation. It ages in bottle for an impressive eight years before release.
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