We discovered this natural Lambrusco wine in a small bar in Padova called Enoteca Severino. The Lambrusco Rosso was served chilled by the glass and we were struck by its purity, lightness of touch and immense drinkability. I think we had 4 glasses in 30 minutes and walked out into the sunshine with a big smile on our faces...
Flavio Restani - the owner of Agrikoi worked as wine maker for a larger Lambrusco producer called Farneto for six years before deciding to take the plunge and set up his own farm and winery. It wasn't easy, he comes from a modest background and had no real financial support. His Father was a factory worker, although they had a small piece of agricultural land in the family from where his Father always made small batches of natural wine for the family. Flavio finished his degree in Oenology in 2012 before starting work with Farneto. He started Agrikoi in 2018 with a small number of rented vineyards.
The vines are spread around the picturesque hills of the Colli Bolognesi and Modenesi. This is the central belt of Emilia Romagna and the heartland of Emilian farming. Here the soils and micro-climates create superb conditions for grape growing. It isn't for nothing that Emilia Romagna is considered the bread basket of Italy. Flavio has 7 hectares of vines and a few of cereals and sunflowers which he has acquired over the last few years. The vines of Lambrusco Grasparossa and Trebbiano Modenesi are over 60 years old. They are located near Modena where the Lambrusco wine originates. He also grows Pignoletto, Trebbiano di Spagna, Moscato, Montuni and a small amount of Sauvignon Blanc in the hills above Bologna.
Flavio has always believed in natural methods and cites producers like Camillo Donati and Vanni Nizzoli as inspirations. The vines are certified organic and Flavio has also gone further in his vines. He purchased the surrounding land planted with other crops to avoid contamination by farmers who use pesticides. He tells me natural farming is still only a tiny part of the agriculture in his region. Flavio is a firm believer that the way to produce great wine is to find balance in the vineyard. When the vine has balance, the wine is always good' he says.
In the cellar, he does very little. Natural ferments, no finings, no filtration and almost never any sulphites are used. (He says the wines never really need them.) Agrikoi natural Lambrusco is the most drinkable and perfectly expressed Lambrusco Seco we have ever tasted. The rest of the wines are also delicious, complex, a little funky and very gastronomic.