The Tonelli family has grown grapes in the region since 1912, when Stefano’s great grandfather, Antonio Tonelli planted vines between his rows of wheat for local consumption. Later, Antonio’s grandson Francesco would go on to establish the Colli Pesaresi D.O.C., with Villa Ligi leading each step of the way.
Located just just inside the Le Marche region in the Northeastern tip, it’s perfectly tucked away between San Marino and Ancona, benefitting from its proximity to the Adriatic Sea. The winery has been a pioneer in the region for over 100 years, with Antonio Tonelli first planting grapes in the region in 1912. Later his grandson Francesco would actually establish the Colli Pesaresi D.O.C.
The red wines in Colli Pesaresi are typically made from Sangiovese and sometimes from Aleatico. But that didn’t sit well with their Romagna neighbors to the north, who argued in court they should have the exclusive right to use the name Sangiovese. Ultimately they lost, as it was ruled in 1972 that Colli Persari could continue using the name Sangiovese after it was proven they had been growing it for centuries.
In terms of who is leading the region in its push for relevancy, no one is currently doing a better job than Villi Ligi. Italian expert Antonio Galloni stumbled onto them a few years ago, and gushed that the wines are “very pretty and intriguing” and “also happen to be a steal.”