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Unfiltered: Mattia Scarpazza

The head sommelier at Petersham Nurseries Café, Richmond, and avid podcast author talks to Douglas Blyde about what to match with venison, a dislike of Tempranillo, and looking after Prince…

What is your vintage?

I’m originally from a village called Viggiu in the North of Italy, between Varese and Como. I’m a class 1992 – turning thirty this year! It was a very poor vintage throughout Europe, from which I have tried a Mosel Riesling Kabinett and a Colheita Port.


What is your motto?

“Don’t speculate.”


Where did you work before?

At Zafferano, Mayfair.


What bottle would you open if you knew the end of the world was due in an hour’s time?

A Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco from the 1980s.


Describe your wine list at Petersham Nurseries?

We specialise in Italy, as well as a good selection of grower Champagnes. Some of my favourite producers are Antonella Corda from Sardinia, Piero Busso in Barbaresco and Girolamo Russo from Etna.


What country do you wish you could add to the list?

Chile, which is definitely one of my favourite regions to explore.


Do you buy en-primeur in conjunction with sister wine merchant business, Petersham Cellars?

Of course!


What are your most interesting pours via Coravin?

Barbaresco Roccalini and Oslavie, Skerk from Friuli-Venezia Giulia.


Do you often have interesting wine personalities working alongside you?

We are lucky to have a great connection with the Mazzei Family, meaning we often work with Giovanni Mazzei and Sophia Antinori.


What has been a standout wine and food match with chef, Ambra Papa’s food?

My favourite match was venison loin with buttered neeps, turnips, confit sweetbread and elderberry compote matched with Boca, Podere I Vailloni 2010.


Describe the playlist?

Sparse, but there is always some prog rock, mods, jazz and piano.


Do you match vinyl and vin at home?

Yes, often with sparkling wine and indeed, Islay whisky.


What grape do not you have a good relationship with?



Which is the best table at Petersham Café in your opinion?

Table two by the windows which is always quiet and allows you to look outside while enjoying the indoor decor. Or when we are outside, the table by the fountain.

Tell us about your podcast, “Looking Into Wine”?

It is an interview-style format which covers wine science, regions and styles with academics, authors and producers from all over the world. Although is difficult to choose the most memorable, ones I particularly enjoyed making include Anita Oberholster from UC Davis on smoke taint, Randall Grahm of Bonnie Doom, and the upcoming episode with Elizabeth Gabay on the politics of rosé wines. You can tune in here:


Who is your favourite film director?

Giuseppe Tornatore.


And actor?

Geoffrey Rush.


Tell us something surprising about yourself?

I love to read annual reports from companies!


Where do you dine on your days off?

I like my local Indian.


If you could have a superpower, what would it be?



Who is the most famous person you have ever looked after?



Petersham Nurseries Café – Church Lane, Off Petersham Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 7AB; 020 8940 5230;;

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