Smoking or drinking alcohol – do you really need to choose? Thanks to terpenes (hydrocarbons found in essential oils) and other substances, cannabis and wine form a complex combination of tastes and smells. They combine fruity and earthy notes, and the right cannabis strain with good red or white wine is becoming a trend in consumer culture – both wine and cannabis. And in California, there is even wine saturated with cannabis – by the way, very expensive. Read Bryan Diego reviews.
Cannabis with wine – a great combination or food spoilage?
Cannabis and wine create a universe of smells. The variety of varieties – both wine and cannabis – allows for incredible combinations of tastes and smells. Finding new combinations of wine and cannabis is a hobby that could become a new direction in the industry.
In Europe, smoking cannabis cigarettes over a glass of wine or beer is not such a rare habit among experienced cannabis users. In the United States, both culture and law are, in fact, more lenient about marijuana use than alcohol use. Therefore, if a person is concerned about his police record, it is better for him not to be caught on the street or in a car with a bottle of beer or other open package of alcohol. It doesn’t matter if he’s drunk or not, he can’t just read a book and sip a beer on a sunny day somewhere in Central Park, unless he wants, of course, unnecessary precedents to be brought to the police.
Therefore, weed-and-wine is, after all, more of a “home” rather than a “street” trend that has arisen due to the legalization of cannabis in the United States.
Drinking fresh white wine while smoking marijuana is, of course, a pleasure for body and soul, which, however, looks somewhat pretentious. Fully aware of the risks and opportunities of such a case, the American cannabis industry began to ferment grapes with marijuana buds, developing a new direction in the use of wine and marijuana, new professions, partnerships, and special clubs. But let’s take a look at the lab and see how it’s done.
Chemistry and life
The taste and aroma of wine are formed almost magically: it is a combination of sugars, terpenes, esters, yeast, thiols, lactones, pyrazine, and many other substances, including fungal mold. Have you ever heard of this? It may not be desirable on plants, including marijuana, but you will appreciate the honey and fruity aroma it brings to sauternes and other white wines.
In wine, essential compounds form a kind of bricks of fruit flavors, giving the characteristic apple flavor to chardonnay. Thanks to pyrazines, sauvignon has its own herbaceous scent. Thiols give a fruity, bittersweet berry flavor to burgundy, cabernet, merlot. Young red wine can have a metallic flavor, while Chablis can have a mineral flavor due to sulfur compounds. The right amount of bacteria in all stages of fermentation gives value to wines like Amarone because they almost magically add a balsamic component to the taste and aroma of these wines.
Chemical compounds called “terpenes” are what cannabis and wine exchange when it comes to taste. Terpenes give wine and beer a rich palette of flavors: sweet, floral, herbaceous, resinous. The floral note in a good nutmeg, sauvignon or champagne, and many other subtle aromas such as orange, lemon, or pink are actually terpenes. A variety of terpenes can make us smell more intense – pine, nuts, cheese, or even gasoline. Terpenes are found in nature in very low concentrations, but they play a critical role in the development of the qualities of wine and cannabis. More than 50 terpenes are found in wine and over 100 in cannabis.
Overlapping tastes and aromas
But terpenes aren’t the only ones responsible for tastes and smells. The molecular complexity of natural wine compounds, when compared to cannabis, is the chemical cause of the higher human perceived wine aromas (cannabis aromas are poorer). In addition, our tongue perfectly feels all shades of wine taste, while when smoking, information about the aroma is supplied to us mainly by our palate and respiratory system. In the process of smoking, many terpenes disappear before they can touch our receptors.
Despite this, the nature of cannabis alone, coupled with the ability of breeders to develop the qualities of individual marijuana strains, and together with the limitless possibilities of combining genetic traits and environmental parameters, can give marijuana a great taste and a very interesting complex of aromas. Much like wine.
Both wine and cannabis tastes can be roughly classified as fruity, floral, herbaceous, tangy, earthy. These main groups can be subdivided according to the wishes of the sommelier, down to individual sensations based on a variety of factors, including personal memories and which aromas come from smoking and which ones from eating marijuana cookies or sniffing a fresh leaf.
Here, however, there is an important point: most of the pleasant wine aromas are revealed to us when we eat a certain food, “suitable” for a particular wine. At the same time, good food becomes a real delicacy when eaten with the right wine.
So what’s the right way to pair wine with marijuana?
In the United States, and probably elsewhere, sommeliers and marijuana lovers strive to combine – by similarity or contrast – the smells and tastes of different wines with different varieties of marijuana. They offer marijuana lovers, in addition to the herb, the best sparkling wines, such as champagne or prosecco, in order to refresh the “dry mouth of a smoker” with bubbly wine. This refreshing role of wine is quite important in a wine-plus-cannabis combination, and the only reason to stop after a few sips of wine rather than drink the whole bottle is because of the well-known unpleasant effect of alcohol-THC interaction.
For the same reason, light red wines like Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet are preferred by marijuana lovers more often than Port and other strong wines. They are soft, aromatic wines with low tannin content and help to avoid dry mouth and throat sensations. On the other hand, who would refuse a good tart burgundy just because it can stick in the throat and dry out a little in the mouth? Sommeliers also believe that the lemon flavor in some cannabis varieties goes well with dry white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot, or Chardonnay. But in practice, marijuana drinkers seem to prefer white semi-sweet foods like Riesling or nutmeg.
If it is true that sour and fruity cannabis varieties go well with sparkling wines, then any smoker of cheap cigarettes can attest that his cigarette goes well with cool champagne, especially on a warm sunny day in Central Park, especially if it is not prohibited … Indeed, these cool, fresh, bubbly wines are great for refreshing the throat of any smoker, not just the marijuana lover.
And other marijuana varieties go well with most dry white wines, of course, or contrast nicely with reds. Speaking of terpenes, how about a joint after a strong espresso? Coffee also has terpenes, and it is great with marijuana, so you just have to choose – you prefer to cheer up or relax.
The original California “cannabis” wine
Wine producers in California have decided to incorporate cannabis into the grape fermentation process. At first, they made such wine for their own consumption and in order to share it with friends, but the popularity of cannabis wine in narrow circles led them to think that this product should be released to a large market, in the hope that the legalization of marijuana in California would make it popular and among the mass buyer. Alas, this product almost never came out of California: today it is difficult to buy it in other states. Even the states that fully legalize marijuana – Colorado, Washington, Oregon – do not allow cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages to be sold on their territory.
In the original Californian recipe, marijuana leaves and buds are added to the grapes at the fermentation stage and left to infuse for several months. This wine is called – you will never guess – Canna Wine. The bottle is quite expensive – from $120 to $400. Some say that certain cannabis varieties and brands are gaining “prominence” in no time, following the path that winemakers have followed for centuries. But is it possible to buy a bottle of Canna wine for 400 dollars and sell it, years later, for 1000? It is unlikely.
The sheer variety of cannabis strains, hybrids, and mixtures open up the possibility for a new “tasting culture”, with professional cannabis connoisseurs and “tasters”, and the legal production industry – just as it was with wine. Half of the entertainment industry in this area revolves around wine and food, and now wine producers are “adding a new player” – for now, however, he is playing for their team.