Photo of La Collina lambrusco by Laura Hayes
Photo of La Collina lambrusco by Laura Hayes

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The Partisan’s annual answer to Restaurant Week is to focus on a much-maligned variety of wine called lambrusco. The fizzy red elixir is often thought of as sticky, sweet, and not appropriate for mature palates, but if Miley Cyrus can rehab her sugary, immature image, so can lambrusco, thanks to passionate sommeliers like Brent Kroll. The Neighborhood Restaurant Group Wine Director is in the throes of his third annual Lambrusco Week at the Penn Quarter restaurant, and this year he picked lambrusci with big personalities starting with La Collina’s Rosaluna.

La Collina is a winery with a story. Located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy (in Reggio), the winery was founded as a co-operative in 1975 during the country’s drug epidemic that was dominated by heroin use. Still to this day, it’s set up as a rehabilitation program. “They started this to help their town from mass drug addiction, so a lot of their workers and farmers were in recovery,” Kroll says. “I think honestly it wasn’t about lambrusco in the beginning, it was about the drug problem, but now they’re making something delicious and utterly unique.” Kroll continues to explain that the fruit-forward wine was certified as biodynamic by one of the foremost experts in biodynamic farming.

The La Collina lambrusco is one of 10 varieties being offered by the taster pour (three for $25, five for $35, or $60 for all ten), by the glass, and by the bottle during Lambrusco Week which lasts through Aug. 21. They all hail from the Emilia-Romagna region where Bologna is the capital. There, lambrusco is typically sipped alongside cured meat, so The Partisan is following suit by suggesting a charcuterie pairing for each variety of lambrusco. For example, the La Collina lambrusco goes with Chef Nathan Anda‘s tongue ham.

The Partisan, 709 D St. NW; (202) 524-5322;