Bagrina is an old Balkan white grape variety (though the grapes themselves are pink in color) grown in Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. Little known even to consumers in these countries, it sometimes goes by other names, such as Braghina, Crvena dinka or Turska ružica. The name may derive from the word ‘bagrem’, the Serbian name for robinia (Robinia pseudoacacia, a genus of flowering plants). It is said that the sweet smell of its flowers can be found in the wine.
In Serbia, Bagrina has almost been forgotten, surviving in a just a few old vineyards of Negotinska krajina in the eastern part of the country. Before it was abandoned for international varieties, Bagrina enjoyed a great reputation for the quality of its grapes, however, like many native Balkan varieties (e.g. Crna Tamjanika, Žilavka), it has female flowers and needs to be planted in mixed vineyards.
The grapes have a light rosy or copper color, similar to pinot grigio. Accordingly, they allow for two styles of wine: a lighter white or a darker, almost orange variety. Besides the female flower, the Bagrina grape presents further problematic characteristics: it is susceptible to low temperatures and provides quite an irregular yield. This is why Bagrina has always remained a regional specialty, expressing the local terroir, rather than a candidate for mass production. Still, considering the significant temperature extremes in this area – especially the long, hot summers – its grapes have both good pH and high acidity.