You do not need to be a master sommelier to know that there is a huge industry built on the pairings of food and wine. Almost any semi-sober wine drinker can positively identify foods which may or may not pair up with the wine they are indulging in, and vice versa. What about when it comes to weed and wine pairings though. What are they, and how do we know what works?
This is an area which is becoming more and more common in wine country, and around the world, thanks to the continuing legalization of cannabis. People are starting to realize that the subtle notes of flavor in there weed, caused by the natural compounds, or terpenes, can pair extraordinarily well with their favorite red or white. Taking in and understanding this newly formulating field can be a challenge, so we have compiled a basic guide on how to get the most out of your next weed and wine pairings.
Matching Smell and Taste
Naturally, one of the most difficult aspects of matching any flavor is how it smells vs how it tastes. To understand the pairing of any two things, it is always helpful if you have a good knowledge of both products. So ideally in this case, you would have quite a good base knowledge of both your weed and wine.
Wine and food when paired, have very unique interactions which can really enhance a good experience, or really bring down the quality of both products if the pairing is incorrect. That said, you should not be afraid to experiment with your favorite strains and wines. Favorites are often a great place to begin. This is recommended since, if they are your favorite of each product, you will typically have more knowledge of them, and instantly know if the experience is enhanced or not.
Regardless of how you are going to approach it, use of a vaporizer made for cannabis flower is one thing which is certainly recommended. This should greatly help to enhance the more precise flavors of the strain. This can lead to an altogether different experience from just smoking a joint together with your glass of wine.
This vaporizer and some quality wine along with your favorite strains are just about the only pre-requisites to get your first weed and wine pairings session underway.
The Formula – What Matches?
When we think of wine tasting and pairing with food, we often think of these steadfast boundaries that are almost unbreakable in terms of pairing, steak with a strong cabernet being a prime example. This can cause many to shy away from even attempting to pair, or try something different. There is no such intimidation or preset boundary with cannabis pairings. It is something which is new and developing. That means there is still plenty of room for experimenting with your favorite strains and wines to find the best combination. With such a wide selection of strains out there, and new ones being developed all the time, we are also spoilt for choice when it comes to making our choice.
The basic issue to remember here is, if you like the pairing. That is, the weed is good, and the wine is also good. Then there really is no problem. Particularly within the wine sector, you may find some snobbery. This is usually very quick to disappear when it comes to weed and wine pairings.
The weed and wine pairings industry has become so popular of late, particularly in Sonoma County, that weed/wine tours have been popping up everywhere to combine these two “growing” industries. As legalization spreads, so too does the industry and the amount of knowledge surrounding how the two can collaborate. In fact, there is even an annual wine and weed symposium which is now running into its third year.
Either way, as an early entrant into the world of wine and weed pairing, you have both the time and position to build your own formula for which strains and vintages go well and grow well together.
Pairing by Flavor or Effect
The two key, and particularly distinct ways in which you should approach your wine and weed pairing, are by flavor, or effect. Ideally, you will reach a combination which reacts positively in both categories, but these can also be seen as separate avenues from which to find your favorite pairings.
Selecting your weed and wine combination based on flavor is a great place to start, especially if you are new to combining tastes and flavors. In fact, many of the strains on the market are highly descriptive in name, and so, the process of pairing can be made much easier.
An ideal example of this may be, a sweet white wine such as a Riesling or Chenin Blanc, would pair up nicely with a hybrid Mango Kush strain, on Indica Tahoe OG, or a similarly sweet Sativa.
On the other end of the white wine scale with some of the more dry choices, a chardonnay, or Sauvignon Blanc, a better pairing may be something on the more bitter side such as lemon Kush or a Sativa such as Amnesia Haze. If you are really feeling in the party mood, why not break out the champagne, and celebrate in combination with an Indica White Rhino, or a Sativa Lemon Haze strain.
Switching across to the red end of the aisle, and a medium merlot or zinfandel would be ideal with an Indica Purple Kush, or even an OG Kush. Something darker or stronger again like a Cabernet or Malbec, works well with an Indica Afgoo, or sunset sherbet.
As we can see, pairing the flavors in this manner is ideally about matching the nuance within each strain to that of the wine. As you become more adventurous, you can and should, work outside of this flavor matching, to find combinations which work well for you.
The unique element which makes wine and weed pairing extra exciting is the fact you now have two products activating together which can alter your state. This is something very intriguing which can have an amazing result if correctly balanced. Balance is indeed the key thought here.
The first consideration when pairing in this fashion should be on, what kind of high you like to experience. Is that a mellower, peaceful vibe, or something a little more energetic, such as a sativa lemon haze, or strawberry cough. Once you have decided on this course, remember that typically, the darker and fuller bodied the wine, the more grounded and relaxed your state also tends to be.
These two factors can be offset in a fashion, such as a sativa chocolope, with cabernet. With that balance, you would hopefully achieve the perfect high experience and also enjoy the combination of flavors within the pairing. At the other end of the spectrum, although not strictly recommended, you could try a highly energetic combination of a lighter white wine with an equally upbeat strain of Jillybean.
Whichever you decide to go for, there are a never-ending range of combinations to try, and only you can really decide which strikes the perfect fit for you.
A Note of Caution
Obviously, this is a relatively new phenomenon which has caught on and been embraced thanks to the legalization of weed in recent times. This is fantastic, but does mean we are still in the early stages of experimentation with combining the two. With so many new strains, of varying quality coming on to the market almost daily, it pays to be mindful and cautious in a few respects.
The first of these is quality. Always ensure you are sourcing quality weed from the most trusted of sources. Next on that line is also to ensure your wine is as quality as it can be, or at least that you enjoy that wine by itself. If you do not enjoy drinking that wine solo, it is highly unlikely to improve when mixed.
Finally, with both the wine and weed having an impact to alter your state of mind, it is wise to ensure that you consume both to a moderate a responsible level. This ensures you always have a positive experience without over indulging.
Ultimately, when it comes to pairing your favorite wine with your favorite weed, sure, there are thousands of options and combinations. There are more becoming available on a daily basis. Truly though, these do not all have to factor into your decision making process. As a very basic rule of thumb, you could stick with light wine to similarly lighter strains of weed, and vice versa.
The final piece of advice is to find the combinations which you feel you will enjoy, regardless of whether they fit some categorized combination or not, and indulge in those. As a new and thriving sub-genre of the industry, this is an area which is primed for more exploration and discovery.