Champagne and Steak
NV Paul Bara Bouzy Grand Rosé Brut
The Texture of Champagne - Grand Cru Grower Rosé
Paul Bara crafts an amazingly rich, powerful Pinot Noir-based Champagne. It flaunts enough raw material to pair with steak, yet it has enough energy and agility to stand on its own.
For those still stuck in the "Champagne is for celebrations" cliché, today's grower Champagne offers a forceful declaration that Champagne not only belongs at the dinner table, but that it can excel with more than just oysters and caviar.
In other words, bring on the red meat.
Champagne can be luscious, it can be textural. Rosé Champagne especially can be palate-coating and sensual, layered with ripe fruit, with flowers, with minerals.
Today we present "Burgundy with bubbles," a muscular, generous, berry-scented rosé Champagne dense with raw material yet agile and energetic. Pair this wine with steak or drink it on its own - seriously, this is one of the most versatile bottles we've come across in a long time.
Dichotomies abound in Bara's Grand Rosé. This wine is sourced from Grand Cru vines in one of the warmest villages of one of the coldest regions in France (Bouzy and Champagne, respectively).
Bara is one of the oldest, best producers in the small village of Bouzy. The family has been making wine here, and only here, since 1833. So it makes sense that they'd have figured out how to pour such energy into this rich, silken raw material.
They remain, however, a small and artisanal operation, and though this is 100% Grand Cru fruit, the pricing today reflects the astounding values still available in Champagne: At about $50 this is one of the most serious rosé Champagnes out there. It's probably a bit much to call this "baby Selosse rosé," but there is a similar density, a similar depth to the Selosse rosé.
The Grand Cru village of Bouzy sits on the south-facing curve of the horse shoe of the Montagne de Reims - ample sunlight and warmer temperatures here mean grapes achieve more ripeness than they might elsewhere in Champagne.
In order to keep up this liveliness, this gracefulness with chalky underpinnings beneath opulent red fruit, Bara takes a couple steps: First, Chantale (Paul's daughter, who's now running the estate) blocks Malolactic fermentation, maintaining a sharp freshness on the palate.
Finally, to make the rosé, Bara combines the saignée method - which bleeds the color, body and tannins of red grape skins into the white juice - with a partial blend of still red and white wine - that small addition of Chardonnay bolsters the wine's finesse and contributes an overall ease of structure.
The results are a rosé with enough brawn to excel at the dinner table while not being too stern for aperitif hour. So by all means, go ahead and throw a steak on the grill - or splurge on richer sauces and bolder flavors; the weight and caressing texture combined with the fine bubbles and streak of acidity will complement as well as cut through bigger dishes with ease.
And while we very much like the idea of opening one of these now, we're equally as excited about saving a few bottles for soirées in the future - we're pretty sure there'll be ample opportunities for grilled steak this summer... or the next... or the next....
To order, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
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