While a budtender may not compare to a trained professional sommelier, wine and weed pair very well together. Both have cult-like followers who are enticed by nature’s complex flavors and smells. Cannabis (and wine) also pair very well with certain foods, though most smokers know that everything tastes better when high. Pairings aren’t just created depending on what tastes good together (though that works too), they can also be based upon science. The complex aromatic terpene profiles to be exact, however other aspects also come into play. Take the classic wine and food pairing of steak and cabernet sauvignon for example, cabernet often has a strong tannic aftertaste that is tamed by the fat of the meat. Don’t be intimidated, we’ll break down everything you need to know, plus create a list of classic wine and weed pairings to get you started.
What are terpenes?
To pair anything with weed or wine, you must first know the basics about terpenes, the chemical compounds found in all plants that give them their unique aromas. Terpenes make up the essential oil of flowers, leaves, and fruits, and are meant to attract pollinators and deter predators. Some people also believe that terpenes contribute to specific effects when consumed such as anti-anxiety, sleepiness, pain relief, stress relief, muscle relaxation, and more. There are over 20,000 types of terpenes in the natural world. Researchers have found at least 50 different terpenes in grapes and wine, while cannabis terpenes number around 100. No, you won’t have to memorize 100 terpenes, however there are roughly six main terpenes that are found in higher quantities than others that you should get familiar with. These are:
- Myrcene – Clove or earthy scents like mushrooms, herbs, hops, and mango are what the myrcene terpene, the most commonly found terpene in cannabis, is known for. Cannabis strains high with this terpene include Hymilayan Gold, White Widow, OG Kush, and Granddaddy Purple.
- Limonene – It’s obvious what this terpene smells like. Limonene is found in citrus fruits like lemons, limes, grapefruits, and tangerines. Stoners choose Wedding Cake, Lemon Haze, OG Kush, Peanut Butter Breath, and Do-si-dos for its fruity or citrus-like flavor.
- Pinene – Like its name suggests, the alpha-pinene terpene is responsible for the scent of pine trees, conifers, rosemary, parsley, and dill. This terpene is found in high concentrations in Jack Herer, Bubba Kush, Trainwreck, and Critical Mass strains.
- Caryophyllene – That spicy or diesel-like aroma stoners love comes from the beta-caryophyllene terpene. Cannabis strains like Northern Lights, Sour Diesel, and Pineapple Express, and Girl Scout Cookies get their distinct scent from this terpene.
- Linalool – Responsible for the scent of citrus blossoms, violet, lavender, roses, and geranium, the linalool terpene is also found in high quantities in Lavender OG, Amnesia Haze, and Zkittlez.
- Nerolidol – Think jasmine, tea tree, and ginger flowers. Known as an antioxidant and for its anti-inflammatory properties, Skywalker OG, Sweet Skunk, and Banana Kush are high in nerolidol.
Weed and wine pairings
Red wine has a very complex flavor profile but for the sake of simplicity, we’ll categorize them into light, medium, or bold. Light reds like pinot noir or grenache pair well with strains that have the myrcene terpene like White Widow, Kosher Kush, Durban Poison, and Blue Dream. Medium reds can pair with many different cannabis strains. Roll a joint of Grapefruit, Afghani, OG Kush, or Trainwreck. Bold reds like the well-loved cabernet sauvignon work best with weed that can reduce tannic flavors like Rockstar, Granddaddy Purple, Sunset Sherbet, or Sage N Sour. For a red wine weed strain that marries well with practically all reds across the board, indulge in some Northern Lights or Blue Cheese.
Marijuana high in limonene or Pinene mix amazingly with white wines like chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and pinot gris. The best white wine weed strain is Lemon Kush. The mix of citrus and sweet flavors lead to earthy undertones that bring out the best in a cold white wine. Other cannabis strains for white wine are Lemon Cello, Pineapple Express, and Amnesia Haze.
With a delicate rosé, choose a marijuana that’s high in the nerolidol terpene and make magic. This combination is perfect for a picnic in the park or Sunday brunch with the girls. Some great strains to try with rosé are Sundae Driver, Dutch Treat, Jack Herer, Island Sweet Skunk, and Cinderella 99.
If you’d rather pair wine with food, then try getting high after the meal has ended and pair it with a dessert wine. Port, sherry, or ice wine all work well with cannabis. If you’re ready to settle down for the night, try an indica like Blueberry or Master Kush. Not quite ready to hit the sack? Pack a bowl of Pineapple Trainwreck or Cheese.
Ready to pair wine and weed like a pro? Visit the Everything For 420 online headshop for the best dry herb vaporizers, water bongs, glass pipes, dab rigs, rolling papers and other smoking accessories that will elevate your pairing even more.