Champagne Paul Bara has been making Champagne in Bouzy, the capital of Montagne de Reims, since 1833, and has a production of 10,000 cases a year. When Paul Bara returned after WW II, the cellars were pretty much trashed by the occupying Germans, although the few bottles remaining had the house style, continued by Paul, and now able handled by his daughter Chantale. Interestingly their wines are available on all continents, except presumably Antarctica.
The house style? Very much Bouzy. Powerful yet delicate, dry yet rich, lots of minerals. Lots of Pinot Noir, for which Bouzy is known. I look forward to trying their Rose very soon (I did! Tasting note below!).
Paul Bara is nearly synonymous with Bouzy. He's actually the official historian of Bouzy and the author of "History of Bouzy."
The wines are very much hand made, from low yielding vines, and long bottle aging is standard: two years minimum for non vintages wines and five to six years minimum the vintage wines. As they age, the bottles are stored 36 feet underground in their 100+ year old chalk cellars which stay cool with constant humidity year round. Bara has 11 hectares of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, all Grand Cru. While technologically advanced with fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel cuvees, the wines are processed one by one as they were 100+ years ago. The wines become dormant in the winter due to the low cellar temperatures, and there is no malolactic fermentation
Their wines include:
Paul Bara Brut Reserve NV - their entry level wine, with a brief tasting note below. Their signature wine, it is 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, with an average vine age of 35 years.
Brut Grand Cru Millésimé - a vintage wine, 10% Chardonnay and 90% Pinot Noir although this may vary by vintage. A tasting note will be coming soon as I have a bottle in the cellar just waiting for me.
Paul Bara Grand Cru Grand Rose - A lovely Rose, 80% Pinot Noir, and 20% Chardonnay with an average vine age of 35 years.
Paul Bara Comtesse Marie de France - made only in the best years, this is a 100% Pinot Noir Blancs de Noir, with a vine age of 40-50 years. About 300 cases are made and only during great Pinot Noir growing years.
Tasting Note: Paul Bara Special Club 2002 - April 2014, rated A-
A wonderful elegant yet powerful wine.
The nose has apples, minerals (for some reason "feldspar" jumped into my mind) and a touch of red fruits like cherries.
The palate has apple, peach, a pleasant fuzzy peach feeling on the tongue, and cherry in the background.
Tasting Note: Paul Bara Comtesse Marie de France 1988 - April 2014, rated B+
A bit past its prime for my taste but admittedly of unknown provinence having been purchased at auction. Very happy to have tried this!
The nose had a touch of apple cider, wet straw, and some (not unpleasnat) stagnant river that blew off quickly. Pinkish fruit under the covers.
The palate had pinot style power which is no surprise as it is 100% Pinot Noir. Wonderful mouthfeel. Slight pinot spicyness. Clearly some age on it but not old.
A mouthfeel and balance wine.
Tasting Note: Paul Bara, Brut Reserve NV
A light gold color with lots of small to medium sized bubbles
On the nose, fresh bread, limes, maybe baked apples.
Definite lime on the palate, very minerally and long.
Nothing to write home about, but a very solid and well priced NV.
Tasting Note: Paul Bara Grand Cru Grand Rose - 89+ points
A light pink color.
The nose is light on its feet, minerally, with roses.
It's a powerful tasting wine with plums, vinous & very smooth, and
clearly Pinot dominated.