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2008 Brut Grand Cru “Annonciade”

Paul Bara
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“That wine should be paired with a steak,” said Anthony Lynch when tasting this tête du cuvée from Paul Bara. Not just any steak obviously. I wouldn’t pair it with barbecue tri-tip, but consider filet mingon or a dry-aged rib-eye. It sounds heretical, right? Don’t you pair steak with Cab? Often, red meat has elegance and subtlety to it that can be masked by big, juicy, tannic wines. Here’s an instance where opposites don’t attract—elegance often pairs best with elegance.

Clark Z. Terry

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Technical Information
Wine Type: sparkling
Vintage: 2008
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Pinot Noir
Appellation: Bouzy
Country: France
Region: Champagne
Producer: Paul Bara
Winemaker: The Bara Family and Christian Forget
Vineyard: Average 50 years, 11 ha total
Soil: Clay, limestone
Aging: Ages in barrel for 6 months and in bottle for 10 years before release
Farming: Lutte Raisonnée
Alcohol: 12.5%

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About The Region

Champagne

map of Champagne

True Champagne must not only sparkle, but also must come from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France and be made using méthode champenoise—a process that involves prolonged aging of the wine as well as a bottle fermentation used to add the sparkle to the finished product. Though wine has been made in this region since at least the 5th century, Champagne as we now know is a relatively new creation. It wasn’t until the 19th century that sparkling wine production took hold on a large scale in much part due to improvements in the strength of glass for bottles and the embrace of French nobility of the sparkling wines of the region.

Only three grape varieties may be used to make Champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. The chalk-heavy soils not only provide complexity and texture to the finished wine, but also act as a natural humidifier thus keeping the vine’s roots warm during colder months of the year. There are grand cru and premier cru designated vineyard areas but unlike Burgundy, there are few lieu-dit vineyards (though in recent years there has been a greater interest in producing vineyard specific Champagnes).

Kermit’s first foray into the region came in 1981 when he began importing the wines of J. Lassalle and Paul Bara—two producers whose wines we still import. In the mid 2000s, Kermit began importing the wines of Veuve Fourny et Fils.

Of Champagne, Kermit says, “You might be surprised to learn that I don’t like a goût de terroir to dominate the taste of Champagnes. If it dominates, you lose finesse. I want some, obviously—but only enough to keep things interesting.”

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Kermit Lynch

You don’t have to be rich to cellar a great wine.

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