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Saturday July 4, 2015

By Abby Hutmacher

420 Culture

It's common knowledge that marijuana and food go well together. What may not be as commonly understood is the way premium marijuana strains can complement fine wines, too.

You don't have to be a wine sommelier or cannabis aficionado to find the perfect strain of cannabis to compliment your glass of vino. In fact, finding the perfect weed-to-wine pairing might be as simple as consulting your local dispensary or liquor store to discover the taste or flavor profile of your selection.

Pairing marijuana and wine based on taste

Taste is one of our five senses, perceived by sensors on the tongue called taste buds. Taste buds are able to distinguish between six different taste profiles including sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami (meaty) and fatty (like butter or cream). If you can figure out which of these are most prominent in either your wine choice or bud choice, you can pick the other based on complementary (often opposite) taste profiles. Chances are you'll be pleased with the results!

According to one study, people seem to prefer pairing things that balance taste and texture. This explains why red wine is such a common pair for steak; the astringent (sharp and bitter) taste of the dry wine counteracts the greasy texture of the meat.

Taking this into account, if you'd like to find the perfect wine and weed pairing based on taste profile, consider which taste is most prominent in either your wine or your weed and find the opposing taste profile in the other. For example, if you prefer bold, red wines which tend to be very dry (because most of the sugar has been fermented), the perfect pair would be something sweet like the Jillybean or Strawberry Cough strains. Conversely, sweet wines like Rieslings or Moscatos pair well with earthy strains like White Rhino or Headband.

Pairing wine and weed based on flavor

Flavor, on the other hand, is much more complex. Unlike taste which is a basic sensory perception, flavor encompasses multiple senses. It is a combination of taste, texture, sight, smell and (sometimes) sound, to create a unique (highly subjective) experience.

Pairing wine and weed based on flavor will therefore be very subjective, too, but the process can be made simpler by matching the most prominent flavors in each. For example, when pairing cannabis with Shiraz (which commonly features the flavors of black pepper and other spices), a good pair might include either a strain of White Widow or Super Lemon Haze which will complement the pepper notes of the wine.

Other examples of wine and weed pairings based on flavor include the following:

Red wine pairings

  • Zinfandel + Strawberry Haze or Blueberry: Strawberry Haze feature berry flavors that work well with Zinfandel's sweet, almost "jelly-like" flavor. Hints of spice from this potent wine will counteract the hard-hitting punch of these energetic strains nicely.

  • Sangiovese + Church OG or Himalayan Gold: Church OG features a distinct tobacco flavor which is also characteristic of a Sangiovese wine from Tuscany. Other common flavors associated with this bold red wine include black cherry and tea which complement the sweet yet spicy flavors of these strains as well.

  • Amarone + Sensi Star or Alien Dog: Sensi Star and Alien Dawg are very bitter strains that complement the slightly nutty taste of an Amarone wine. Hailed as one of the best wines in Italy, Amarone features a full body and prominent "tears" or "legs" which are characteristic of its high alcohol content. Its smoky, bitter chocolate flavor complements the earthy flavor of these strains quite well.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon + Golden Goat or Berry OG: These strains feature oak flavors that work well against the sweet, peppery flavor of Cabernet Sauvignon. The sweet flavor of these hybrid strains may also help bring out hints of vanilla or mint in your Cab.

White wine pairings

  • Chardonnay + Lemon Haze or Agent Orange: These strains are both good choices for pairing with a Chardonnay because they feature a sweet flavor with a sour aftertaste. Both strains are very uplifting (though the Lemon Haze is more so) which will work well with Chardonnay's thick body and high alcohol content.

  • Sauvignon Blanc + Mango or Amnesia Haze: Sauvignon Blanc often features a very sweet, almost tropical flavor which makes it a good choice to pair with either Mango or Amnesia Haze. Together, these substances will create an uplifting effect to go with their sweet flavors and strong acidic finish.

  • Moscato + Grapefruit or Girl Scout Cookies: Moscato wines always feature a prominent fruity flavor with a slight musky aroma. Grapefruit or Girl Scout Cookies would therefore pair nicely with this dessert wine because of their complementary flavors, light body and nice buzz.

  • Riesling + Hollywood OG or Rocklock: These strains compliment a Riesling wine because of the characteristic sweet apple flavors in each. Like the wine, the sweet (and often sour) flavor of these strains (coupled with a relaxing body buzz) can make for the perfect end to a lovely dinner party.

Learn to pair wine and marijuana like a pro

So far, we've outlined a few basic examples of wine and marijuana pairings. As you experiment and refine your ability to distinguish different flavors and consistencies in products, your knowledge about wine and weed pairings will grow.

To help you hone your skills more quickly, you can also attend a wine and weed pairing course through the Silverthorne, CO-based company Cultivating Spirits. Here you can sign up for a number of classes including cooking classes, dispensary tours and a weed, wine and food pairing course.

The specific class begins with a limousine tour to a dispensary and private wine-tasting room, and finishes off with a multi-course fine dining experience. Here, you will learn how to pair wine with weed (and amazing food) from experienced chefs, sommeliers and cannabis connoisseurs. Cultivating Spirits also hosts private parties and custom events to fit your needs and guest list.

Thanks to marijuana legalization, we are finally able to enjoy the finer things in life which includes the ability to pair quality wine with premium marijuana strains. By carefully pairing wine and weed, we can truly learn to appreciate the finer aspects of both -- flavor, texture, sensation -- and we can do so thanks to our new-found freedom to consume.

Have you ever tried to pair wine and marijuana?

Photo Credit: Samantha Cohen (license)


Abby Hutmacher Abby Hutmacher

Abby is a writer and founder of Cannabis Content, a marketplace designed to connect cannabis writers and creatives with businesses in the industry. She has been a professional cannabis writer since 2014 and regularly contributes to publications such as PotGuide and M&F Talent. She is also the Content Director at Fortuna Hemp, America’s leading feminized hemp seed bank. Follow Abby on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

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