Salopian Inn's Alex Marchetti suggests trying a mourvèdre from McLaren Vale.

Food and wine has always been a huge part of Alex Marchetti’s life. With his father a chef and mother working in front of house he grew up with a love for food and wine, which he now shares with others in his career as a sommelier.

Marchetti is head sommelier of the Salopian Inn, where his drinks list has taken out three goblets the last two years at the Wine List of the Year Awards. When asked what goes into his award-winning lists, he says it’s a “multi-pronged” attack but with a focus on supporting local. “We want to showcase the smaller producers within the region that people won’t necessarily see when visiting.” He also wants guests to try something new with their food and to discover new styles and varieties.

While in isolation, Marchetti says he’s been drinking local wines including the Sherrah Wines Fiano and Paxton Wines Rosé, along with some Dr Edge Riesling from Tassie. For people wanting to try something new from his home region, he recommends a McLaren Vale mourvèdre.

“I think mourvèdre is one of the most unsung grape varieties down here. The Samuel's Gorge Mourvèdre is one of the best wines in the region for me each year, along with the Aphelion Wines Mataro. You’re getting that sort of big, richness of shiraz but there’s this structure behind it – acid and dark berries, it’s meaty, it’s coffee, it’s fantastic. Every time I cook a steak over charcoal, I crave a mourvèdre,” he says.

While the current Covid-19 situation has seen the Salopian Inn transfer to a take-away only menu and list, he is excited to get back to work. “The way everyone’s supporting each other here in McLaren Vale is amazing. But we can’t wait to get back to welcoming people into the restaurant and sharing some glasses of wine with them – it’s what we do and who we are.”