Paul Bara

Represented by Christophe Constant

The Bara family has been growing vines in Bouzy since 1833, and they’ve occupied the same house since 1860, tucked away on the quiet rue Yvonnet in the middle of the village. During the 19th century they sold their grapes to the négoce, but they joined the cooperative of Bouzy when it was created in 1929, one of the earliest cooperatives in Champagne. While it was at this time that Auguste Bara began selling wines, including the famed Bouzy rouge, to clients and restaurants both locally and in Paris, it wasn’t until after the Second World War that his son Paul began producing estate-bottled champagne. Paul Bara purchased a press in 1965 that is still in use today, and he also doubled the estate’s vineyard holdings from its previous size of five hectares. Today Paul has retired, and the estate is in the hands of his daughter, Chantale Bara (pictured).

Bara’s vineyards are all located in the grand cru of Bouzy, with roughly 9.5 hectares now planted with pinot noir and another 1.5 hectares with chardonnay. Many of the estate’s parcels are relatively old, and average vine age is between 35 and 40 years. The grapes continue to be pressed with the traditional Coquard vertical press from Paul Bara’s time, although as of 2006 the estate has also added a modern Coquard PAI inclined press. Fermentation takes place in either stainless steel tanks or tiled cement vats, and while the wines of the past used to see a partial malolactic, the malo has been strictly avoided since 1990. “With our ripe fruit here,” says Chantale Bara, “the wine becomes very flat and heavy with malo.” 

While a small portion of Bara’s cellars date from the original construction of the house in 1860, they were later expanded to their present capacity, built on three levels, and an unusual feature of the cellar is the presence of numerous tanks built into the floor, used for storing reserve wines. These tanks are lined with tile or glass, and are generally in relatively small sizes, scattered throughout the cellar, which allows Bara to retain a wide variety of reserve wines from different parcels and different vintages.

Information courtesy of Peter Liem's ChampagneGuide.net ©