Santa Liberata – A Family Affair

Begun in 1934 by Dominico Savini and his son Onorato in Val D’Aso, south of the city of Ancona in the Marche region, Azienda Agraria Santa Liberata is today composed of two estates totaling 90 hectares, all close to the Adriatic Sea. Four generations of the Savini family have contributed to the growth and success of Santa Liberata, with the two youngest generations now actively running the business. Onorato’s three sons, Domenico, Giorgio and Vito, plus granddaughter Martina the oenologist, have steadily improved the quality of the wines offered by Santa Liberata. The winery motto is “Where Passion Leads Us.” The vineyards have now all been converted to organic.

Martina, left, and Georgio Savini, right, in the vineyard.

Martina, left, and Georgio Savini, right, in the vineyard.

On a sunny early spring afternoon we met in the Sant’Elpidio a Mare vineyard with Giorgio Savini, the brother who oversees the vineyards, and Martina Savini the winemaker. This vineyard is the main location for their Montepulciano grapes. However, that day in the vineyard we tasted two white wines that Signorina Savini had brought with her.

The first white wine we tasted was a 2016 Saggiolo DOCG Offida Pecorino. This 13.5% alcohol, 100% Pecorina grape wine was the typical Pecorino straw yellow color with a fragrant fruit nose. Aged only in stainless steel, it finished medium long and very smooth, and is available only in Italy.  I rated this excellent example of Pecorino a 91/92.

Next we tried a 2016 DOCG Offida Passerina, a 13% alcohol wine made from 100% Passerina grapes. Also aged only in stainless steel, this wine was a lighter straw color with a very light fruit nose. It finished medium short and I rated the Passerina an 88. It would be a good aperitif wine.

We returned to the Santa Liberata winery where we changed over to reds. Our first wine was a 2015 Marche Rosso IGT Daidalos, named for the ancient Greek sculptor and inventor. This 13% alcohol wine was a blend of 60% Merlot, 35% Petit Verdot and 5% Sangiovese. Following a traditional maturation for 8-10 days, fermentation occurs in stainless steel tanks. The wine was garnet in color and had a slight leather nose. It had a medium but very smooth finish. I liked this wine and rated it a 90.

Our second red was 2016 Marche Rosato “pri-ma-vè-ra”, a 12% alcohol 100% Montepulciano grape rosé. Produced using cold maceration, this rosé had a short finish but was elegant. This would go well with fish.

Next we tried a 2016 Rosso Piceno DOC Le Rene. This 13.5% alcohol blend of 80% Montepulciano and 20% Sangiovese was deep garnet in color and had a nose of wood. It finished long and strong and I rated it a 90. However, I felt that this wine needs more aging.

Last but certainly not least we tried a 2012 Rosso Piceno DOC Vigna Cacia, a wine named for the first plot of land acquired by the winery in the 1930s. This 14% alcohol wine is a blend of 80% Montepulciao, 15% Sangiovese and the remainder approximately equal amounts of Caniolo and Cabernet Sauvingnon. Aged for 18 months in French oak tonneau, it was deep garnet color and had a medium long and very elegant finish. I really liked this wine and rated it a 93.

Our thanks to the family Savini for the warm hospitality they showed to us during our visit, especially to Signorina Martina Savini who conducted the tasting and explained her wines. Also to our friend Monia Scoccia who introduced us to Santa Liberata and the Savini family.

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