Following the first two non-vintages, we began tasting the vintage champagnes of Paul Bara. The first of these was the Brut Millesime 2005, almost a Blanc de Noirs at 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay. This wine is full-bodied and is an intense, deep gold colour, akin to what gold-coated straw would look like. This vintage is a late disgorgement from October 2013, and I felt extremely privileged to taste it. It is a wonderful, wonderful champagne, composed with all the elegance, refinement and gorgeous finesse that one expects from vintage champagne. Although 2005 is less hailed than 2004 as a strong vintage, this wine throws that idea right out the window. Its bead of bubbles is fine and persistent, and smells of attractive depth containing brioche, toast, soft creamy nuts like cashews, with warm hay and straw aromas rolling on the nose. To the taste, this wine sings. Lemon zest, Granny Smith apples and soft flowers join the chorus with brioche, nutty creaminess and warmth - really incredible warmth. The acidity is revealed in the apples, which keeps the warmth from becoming a lazy covering on the mid-palate. The finish of this wine went for almost a minute, and as it warmed in the glass, became richer and less zesty. The full brilliance of the grapes, with their quality and blend, becomes readily apparent and is a reminder not to serve vintage champagnes too cold at home. 10-12 degrees Celsius is recommended. This wine is super-impressive now, and will go another 5 years. 95 points (18.5/20). The Wine Bottle
Located in Bouzy just to the east of Epernay in the Marne Valley, Champagne Paul Bara uses only their own estate grown fruit from 100% Grand cru rated vineyards to craft it’s small range of champagnes.
Their superbly sited vineyard sites have over the years been sought after by many of the top Champagne houses, and while many other producers have been busily expanding, Paul Bara have remained producing the highest quality possible from these same 11 hectares for seven generations. Now managed by Chantal Bara, the beliefs and methods remain true to previous generations, producing very low yields of the best possible grapes from these superb vineyard sites. The great art in the champagnes of Paul Bara remains the same as it always has, it is the stunning purity and depth of 100% Grand cru Bouzy fruit maintained with finesse and balance that is achieved by using such a high percentage of Pinot Noir in the blend.
Whilst the region of Burgundy has enjoyed a huge revival of its fortunes in the past 3 decades as a result of the surge in quality coming from the small growers who are now estate bottling, Champagne is also now seeing a similar surge of interest in small high quality grower champagnes. In Burgundy the best sites for each variety are well researched and have proven their capacity to produce wines of a certain quality level for centuries. Similarly in the Champagne region, the best sites of land are rated and the prices of grapes that can be achieved from those sites will depend on the rating of each site. Bouzy is one of the few villages rated 100% Grand cru and these champagnes come from those superbly sited vineyards.
90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay produced only in the very best years from vines averaging 35 years age. Very limited production
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