Stefano Legnani wasn’t born into winemaking; he began his journey as a gourmet, natural wine lover, and avid drinker. Fast forward a few years, he has now more than deservedly become a cult name in the natural wine world – and every bit the rock star in a sophisticated natural wine market like Japan.
In his previous life, Stefano was a successful insurance broker in Bologna and had always nurtured a burning passion for artisanal gourmet products, cuisine, and most of all, natural wines. Two pivotal encounters changed his life.
The first one was with the wines of giants such as Stanko Radikon, Angiolino Maule, and Vittorio Graziano – way before the natural wine scene even existed and these vignerons were seen as deranged heretics. The second one was with his now-wife Monica, who owned a tiny one-hectare vineyard near the town of Sarzana, in the Eastern tip of Liguria, just a stone’s throw from the border with Tuscany.
Stefano fell so deeply in love with the vines, that he decided to embark on his own winemaking journey. His first vintage, 2008, which he brought almost as a joke to the historical natural wine fair “Vini di Vignaioli” in Fornovo, unexpectedly, was a great success. That day in Fronovo a star natural winemaker was born; Stefano hasn't stopped making wine ever since.
Stefano now farms about two hectares, including the famed Liguria variety Vermentino as well as an assortment of esoteric, almost long-lost grape varieties from old vineyards. His ethos and dedication are uncompromising: his vineyards have never seen any chemical treatments. He raises earthworms so as to enrich the soil’s biodiversity and fosters microbial health with plant extracts and natural treatments.
In the cellar, wild fermentations, extended skin contact, and the ban of any winemaking tricks are key to attaining Stefano’s vision. The resulting wines are a passionate love song to the unbridled spirit of terroir, faithful mirrors of each vintage’s peculiar and diverse personality. And, most of all, they are an explosion of depth, character, and unending, multi-layered flavors.
Ponte di Toi is a Vermentino orange wine of rare brilliance and dynamism. The masterwork that is Bamboo Road is a blend of Vermentino, 40-80 years old Trebbiano, Malvasia, and Albana and it roars with spiced persimmon, turmeric, gingerbread, and baked tamarind.
Imported by our friend Giovanni Pagano of Scuola di Vino, Stefano Legnano is one of the several hidden gems on Primal Wine. Check him out!