Friday, January 23, 2009

Goblessness Personified

2000 Bouzy Rouge by Paul Bara. Pure class. This wine is so intense that I can only drink a little bit of it at a time, and yet it achieves this without any sense of weight whatsoever. (I mean, come on, it’s grown at close to the 50th parallel, for crying out loud.) An ample, effortlessly fragrant aroma of pure, crushed berry fruit saturates the palate, but at only 12.5 percent alcohol, this feels delicate and lively rather than rich, infused by a profound sense of minerality. You can almost taste bits of chalk in the glass. The most striking thing about this wine is how terroir-specific it is: it’s clearly from the southern portion of the Montagne de Reims, but it’s just as clearly from Bouzy and not Ambonnay, with its voluptuous, red-fruit flavors and generous fragrance.

It’s funny—this wine would probably be laughably expensive if you were to import it into the United States, but I would pay the money. I daresay it would be a better buy than many wines from Burgundy in the equivalent price range. Perhaps a 1989, 1996 or maybe 2002 could be more complex and grand, but it’s difficult to improve upon the sheer satisfaction of this wine. This is reference-standard stuff, not only for Bouzy, but for Coteaux Champenois as a category.

5 comments:

sadams62 said...

wow..sounds wonderful..i recently was floored by a still red wine that Gosset produced that reminded me of a Volnay. What was the cost of this wine? I am going to be in Champagne in a couple of months, and thought it might be fun to grab some still red wines from producers like Bara and others. Where can I find?

Anonymous said...

How does it compare to the wines of, say, Bollinger, Egly-Ouriet, or Larmandier-Bernier, for example? These wines are so rare.
Robert

Anonymous said...

cool... I'm interested in getting my hands on still red by Gatinois.

Peter Liem said...

sadams62,
That's fantastic that you found the Gosset Ambonnay rouge. That's a pretty rare wine. Bara's wine is not expensive -- you can find it in one of the shops across from the cathedral in Reims.

Robert,
Not to take away from any of those wines, all of which are outstanding examples of what can be done with red wine in Champagne, but to me, Bara's rouge feels more effortless than any of them. I'm not saying it's "better". It just has a particuarly pure and uncluttered profile.

saignee said...

I was wondering if there was anyone bringing these wines to the US? I was always surprised with the quality of them versus my perceived expectation of them, and it would be a definite unique introduction to my..um..."cellar."