People don’t drink sparkling wine nearly often enough. Not nearly enough. They reserve the champagne for New Year’s Eve, and wedding toasts, and thereby deprive themselves of enjoying its effervescent delights just because spring has finally arrived, or just because the sun’s out, or just because. There’s no reason to wait for special occasions – particularly since there are several perfectly nice ones to be had for an affordable price.
Among them we now add Bagrationi, a sparkling wine producer from the country of … Georgia? I know, we had never heard of wines being made in that country bordering the Black Sea in Eastern Europe either. Apparently Georgian sparkling wine have historically been primarily exported to Russia (as much as 80% of Georgian wine went to Russia, its second largest export product), but what with the Georgian-Russian relations being, ahem, tense, and Russia banning Georgian wine in 2006, Bagrationi has been aggressively developing new markets, including now the US.
But Georgia, and the Bagrationi company, has a long history of making sparkling wine. By some accounts, Georgians have been making wines for eight thousand years and the modern word for wine may stem from the Georgian word for wine, gvhino. A military officer from a branch of the Bagrationi dynasty, which ruled the Georgian kingdoms until Russian annexation in the early 19th century, brought the knowledge of French wine making to Georgia in 1882.
The Bagrationi NV Extra Dry was quite nice – clean tasting and balanced, light and pleasantly dry. It wasn’t the best sparkling wine I’ve ever had by any means, but it was fairly smooth and bright. It was fine by itself, but I think with its clean taste, it should take well with other flavors in champagne cocktails like mimosas. All in all, rather nice.
But what makes it particularly nice is its cost: the Bagrationi NV (non-vintage) sparkling wines come in at a very budget-friendly $14 a bottle. Yes, some sparkling wines can even cheaper, but if they taste dreadful, they aren’t worth their low price (I’m looking right at you, Cook’s). And there are several better tasting sparkling wines that I prefer, but they are typically cost more, around the $20-$30 range (J, of course, is my personal fave).
But at $14, Bagrationi is really a pretty good value. I’d say it’s a great choice for wedding receptions and for a nice everyday type of sparkling wine – something good, but not too pricey.
Per FTC disclosure guidelines, we got two bottles of the sparkling wine to review for free. But I would totally pay $14 for another bottle.