Paul Bara has been making true grower champagne for over six decades, in the delightful Grand Cru village of Bouzy. There, the Bara family has lived in the same house since 1860, and has been tending vines there since 1833. Paul Bara is a legend in the region. His daughter Chantale continues his tradition, and is making 100% Grand Cru wines of exceptional elegance, balance and harmony.
4 Rue Yvonnet, Bouzy. +33 3 26 57 00 50
These wines are an elegant expression of Grand Cru terroir. You’ll find a ripe fruitiness, a full, velvety body, perfect balance, and a long, lingering finish.
Paul Bara Bouzy Brut Reserve Grand Cru
80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay from Grand Cru vines with an average age of 35 years. This wine is always a blend of three vintages with as much as 50% reserve wines added to the cuvee. The Brut Reserve ages for three years before release and has a dosage of 8g/L.
Paul Bara Bouzy Grand Cru Millesime
90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay from Grand Cru vines with an average age of 35 years. The dosage is 8g/L.
Paul Bara Grand Rose
80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay from Grand Cru vines with an average age of 35 years. This rose is an atypical blend of both saignee and Bouzy Rouge. The wine ages for three years and has a dosage of 8g/L.
Paul Bara Comtesse Marie de France
100% Pinot Noir from Grand Cru vines with an average age of 40-50 years. Made only in tiny amounts and in the best years, the Comtesse Marie de France cuvee was originally created by Paul Bara in the 1960s as a special bottling for the Paris restaurant, Chez Denis. The dosage is 6-7g/L.
Paul Bara Special Club Brut Grand Cru
70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay from Grand Cru vines with an average age of 35 years. Paul Bara became a member of the Club Tresors de Champagne in 1971, but didn’t make a special cuvee until much later. This wine, according to Paul, is the lightest of the range.
Paul Bara Special Club Brut Rose Grand Cru
75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay from Grand Cru vines with an average age of 35 years. The first rose of the Club Tresors de Champagne is a blend with approximately 8% red wine. The dosage is 8g/L.
Paul Bara Coteaux Champenois Grand Cru
100% Pinot Noir from Grand Cru vines with an average age of over 30 years. These vines in particular are purposefully low-yielding and able to achieve ideal ripeness. Fermentation in enamel-coated steel tanks is extended, and malolactic fermentation occurs naturally.
The Bara family can trace their ancestry in Champagne all the way back to 1657. It was in 1833 that they started growing vines in Bouzy, and in 1860 they bought the house where the family still lives to this day. During the 19th century, all the Bara grapes were sold to negociants. In 1929, they joined the Bouzy cooperative, one of the earliest in the region, and Auguste Bara became its secretary.
Auguste’s grandson Paul took over the five Bouzy hectares in 1952. He had the desire to bottle his own wines, and in the early 1960s he bought a wine press, which is still in use today. By 1965, Paul Bara Champagne was completely independent of the cooperative and had become one of the first true ‘recoltant manipulants’ (grower producers). In his retirement, Paul Bara authored a book about the history of his native village, Histoire de Bouzy: Par un Vigneron Champenois.
Today Paul’s daughter, Chantale Bara, is at the helm. She uses her talents and passion for blending to carry on her father’s legacy of making exceptional grower champagnes. During her time at the helm, she has more than doubled their vineyard holdings, which now stand at 11 hectares, all located within the Grand Cru commune of Bouzy.
The 11 hectares of old Grand Cru vines are divided into 30 parcels, mainly planted with Pinot Noir (9.5ha) with a small amount of Chardonnay (1.5ha), all of which have an average age of 30-40 years.
In the vineyards, Chantale uses ‘lutte raisonnee’ (literally ‘reasoned struggle’) to cultivate the vines. In practice, this philosophy means that everything is done as naturally as possible, and chemicals are only applied in the most difficult of circumstances.
In the winery, only the first pressing of the grapes is used. Fermentation occurs in stainless steel and enamel-coated steel tanks of various sizes, along with lined cement tanks.
Only the red wines go through malolactic fermentation, the whites never do. The non-vintage wines age for at least three years, and the vintage champagnes for 5-6 years. During this time the bottles are kept in the cool darkness of the hundred-year-old chalk cellars, 36 feet underground.