Wine & Spirits: Lambrusco Week

by WL Author

Kroll and Anda team up for a week of a dry, red sparkling Italian wine paired with cured meats.

By Kelly A. Magyarics

Brent Kroll will be pouring a selection of Lambruscos at The Partisan and Red Apron Butchery. Photo credit Stephanie Breijo.

Brent Kroll will be pouring a selection of Lambruscos at The Partisan and Red Apron Butchery. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)

Banish any thoughts of the super sweet, treacly red bubbles that were wildly popular in the U.S. in the ’70s and ’80s; the most fun and food-friendly versions of Lambrusco are still brightly hued, effervescent and berry-tinged, but crisp and dry. Sparkling, red Lambrusco is produced in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy regions, often from the grape of the same name, and modern versions are the perfect partner for the region’s specialties.

“It’s what’s put in your hand if you’re in the charcuterie capital of the world, and for good reason,” says Brent Kroll, wine director for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, and a big champion for the cause. “Dry Lambrusco from small estates, and handcrafted charcuterie from local animals. It’s what’s meant to be.” Lambrusco, if you will, is a palate scrubber, able to wash away the rich fat from a piece of salume, and get you ready for another bite, and then another sip. Repeat. All evening.

To that end, The Partisan and Red Apron Butchery (709 D Street NW; 202.524.5322) will host its first annual Lambrusco week August 11 through August 17, in tribute to the Italian red bubbly that partners so perfectly with cured meats of all kinds. Inspired by the Italian tradition of enjoying a chilled glass of Lambrusco with some Proscuitto di Parma (Emilia-Romagna is, after all, the birthplace of the ubiquitous Italian ham), chef Nathan Anda and Kroll will team up to show just how versatile Lambrusco can be.

Charcuterie and Lambrusco. 'Nuff said. Photo credit Stephanie Breijo.

Charcuterie and Lambrusco. ‘Nuff said. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)

Each evening during the celebration, The Partisan will highlight one of the seven selections of Lambrusco for $6 a glass, paired with a specially selected charcuterie. Additionally, all week long guests can receive a tasty and enlightening experience with Lambrusco & Charcuterie Flights, offered with either three or six pairings of wine and charcuterie for $17 and $30, respectively. Here are the offerings:

100% Salamino di Santa Croce

Chiarli “Vecchia Modena” Lambrusco, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Fiorini “Terra al Sole” Lambrusco, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Donelli, Lambrusco Rosso, Emilia Romagna, Italy

Fiorini, Becco Rosso, Lambrusco, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Donelli, Lambrusco di Sorbara” Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Fiorini, “Corte Degli Attimi” Lambrusco, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Red Apron’s three locations will also be partaking in the celebration. At Union Market, Becco Rosso Lambrusco will be available by the glass to pair with Anda’s Grown Up Bologna Sandwich. At the Mosaic District location, guests can enjoy a 10% discount on a three bottle pack of Fiorini Lambrusco, a great accompaniment for any of Red Apron’s fresh cuts and on Sunday, August 16th Kroll will be pouring and featuring Lambrusco at the Glass Alley Block Party from 4 – 7 pm in Merrifield.

“There’s possibly no regional pairing in the world with a greater misconception,” notes Kroll. Visit The Partisan or Red Apron Butchery next week to squash that misconception in person. FYI, Kroll has an entire page of his wine list at The Partisan dedicated to Lambrusco, so once you become a dedicated fan you’ll be able to return again and again for a glass or bottle of the appealing effervescent elixir. Salute!

And for a funky option to seek out next time you are wine shopping, try Pronto Lambrusco ($19, SRP). It’s non-stabilized and non-pasteurized, and made from some of the rarer Lambrusco varieties—70% Salamino, 15% Maestri and 15% Ancellotta. It’s great with Proscuitto, Speck, sausage, terrines, you name it. I think it would also be great paired with a grilled rib eye steak this Labor Day weekend, as the tannins would stand up next to the meat, the acidity would wash away the fat, and the chilled temperature will keep guests refreshed.

Pronto is a fun and funky version of Lambrusco. Photo credit Pronto Lambrusco.

Pronto is a fun and funky version of Lambrusco. (Photo by Pronto Lambrusco)


Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website,, and on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics.

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