2009 Paul Bara, Special Club, Brut Rosé Champagne, Grand Cru, Bouzy, France.
The famous grower producer, Champagne Paul Bara, is located in the Bouzy region and makes Pinot Noir driven bubbly that is structured and sophisticated that reflects the terroir with its classic clay and limestone soils that allows the Pinot grapes to really develop full ripeness and power. I have always loved the vitality and firmness of these Champagnes from Bara that always show taught form and zesty acidity, they are enthusiast sparklers that take your full attention to appreciate their vigor and detail, and this is especially true with their rare Special Club bottlings like this glorious 2009 Special Club Brut Rosé, which even in a ripe year is nothing but class. Interesting, these Special Club wines have the highest percentage of Chardonnay in their range and gives them an added richness of texture it seems and a roundness that caresses the full palate with this Rosé showing heightened aromatics and layered flavors with pink citrus, strawberry, a hint of cherry and nutty brioche leesy depth along with wet stone, rosewater, mineral notes and lingering Pinot fruit. The fine mousse is luxurious and beads with the soft pop of small bubbles, it is creamy, but energetic and gives an opulence to what is a powerful Champagne that deserves a meal based around it, rather than it being an aperitif or special occasion sipper, this is center of the table stuff! Bara also does a still red wine, Bouzy Rouge Coteaux Champenois Grand Cru, though it is extremely limited and almost impossible to get your hands on, it is one of the geeky unicorn wines that usually never sees time on the shelf. Bara’s regular bottlings are regal efforts and wonderful values that over deliver in the quality to price arena.
This 2009, a vintage many overlooking as the 2008 continues to be the star of the last decade in the region, but one that will surprise in some cases, as this gorgeous Paul Bara vintage Brut Rosé Special Club proves with its decadence and style. Bara, uses almost zero malos in their fermentations, helping showcase vitality in their Champagne(s) with all their vineyards being Grand Cru and grown to exacting standards which give these Champagnes their clarity, depth and intensity. After hand harvesting and careful sorting the grapes are direct pressed off their skins and cool fermented through primary and aged on the lees, with this Special Club getting 9 years on the lees in bottle. The Special Club Brut Rosé was a final blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, the base wine saw no skin contact, the color coming from the use of 12% Bouzy Rouge, from riper Pinot Noir still wine that was crafted separately from a later pick and with traditional winemaking with daily punchdowns and allowed to go through secondary fermentation. I was thrilled by this 2009 Brut Rosé by Paul Bara and while not easy to find, nor inexpensive if you can find it, it is pure seduction in the glass and worth every penny as it out performs many tete cuvees and is seriously a match for Dom Rosé! Imported by Kermit Lynch, who’s savvy selection of grower fizz is exceptional with Lassale and Bara being great Champagne(s) to look for, and if you can’t find this beauty, be sure to not miss Bara’s 100% Pinot Noir “Comtesse Marie de France” Brut, it is one of the best bottles of bubbly I’ve had. There’s a lot to enjoy at Paul Bara and this Special Club is one of many highlights, they are Champagne(s) that drink as wine, great with food and are of real substance, impressive stuff to savor with someone special.
($90 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive