Bagrationi hails from a place called Georgia. Not the state, the country, which claims to have been making wine since 5000 B.C. Today Georgia isn’t so much the winemaking empire it might have been in the age of the Merimde — Googling “Georgia wine” mainly gets you wineries near Atlanta — but a few makers are still soldiering on. One of them is Bagrationi, which produces a few sparklers worth a look… for the novelty value if nothing else.
NV Bagrationi 1882 Classic Brut – Foamy and big-bodied, mouth-filling and lightly bittersweet, with black pepper and green vegetable overtones. Some fruit fills in the gaps, but this wine’s power provides a bit much for an aperitif. B- / $10
2007 Bagrationi 1882 Reserve Brut – More interesting and challenging, not quite as over-the-top with bubbles, but with an interesting and deep nut character, almost like having a rich cheese plate with a side of walnuts. Again the fruit is pulled back as a bittersweet edge shows its face, but overall the balance is better here. B+ / $20
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