Pairing Wine and Cannabis Like a Pro - Item 9 Labs

Pairing Wine and Cannabis Like a Pro

Wine and cannabis pairings

Cannabis and wine have more in common than you’d think. Aside from being well-loved throughout the ages for their relaxing, restorative, and celebratory properties, they share another essential element. That, friends, is terpenes.

Terpenes are the aromatic compounds found in many plants and are responsible for their unique scent profiles. Terpenes are often associated with cannabis because the plant has an unusually high number of them. Interestingly, terpenes also drive taste.

Turns out, our sense of smell is responsible for about 80% of what we taste. Without it, we can only recognize salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and savory. However, our sense of smell, when combined with taste, allows us to recognize many other individual flavors, in all of their subtleties. This helps explain why the scent profiles created by a plant’s terpenes are so influential on the taste experience.

Any good wine expert or Sommelier knows the right pairing can do magical things.

When a wine’s profile—including body, scent, acidity, and tannins—is carefully matched to a food, it brings out the flavors of both – enhancing their best aspects and making the dining experience that much richer.

In recent years, the worlds of cannabis and wine have collided as cannabis connoisseurs bring their expertise public. Just like with food, the right pairing can be downright sublime and add depth and richness to your experience.

Image Courtesy of Leafly

Winning Wine and Cannabis Pairings

Our team has paired 12 popular wine varietals with a dozen of our Broad Spectrum cartridges, aligning plant terpenes with wine aromas and bouquets to create enhanced experiences.

Our process involved first sipping the wine, then exhaling vapor into the glass while taking another sip. While alcohol and cannabis don’t always mix well, intentional and responsible pairings can elevate any kind of sesh.

Shiraz paired with Watermelon Zkittlez

The mouthwateringly sweet melon amps up the kinetic mouth feel while balancing the wine’s spicy fruit and oak tastes as the floral bouquet finish opens up the leather and smokey notes typical to Shiraz.

Red Blend (dark fruit) with Jack Herer

The fruity pepper of Jack Herer plays nicely with the bold richness of this dark-fruit-forward Red Blend, while the sweet herbal notes soften up the tannin bitterness. Red blends to consider include those with mourvedre, pinot noir, merlot, and cabernet franc.

Cabernet Sauvignon with Dutch Treat Haze

The herbal-forward fruit aroma from Dutch Treat Haze synergizes with the blackberry and black currant flavors in the Cabernet Sauvignon. The peppery, almost eucalyptus, bite enhances the woodiness without overpowering the toasted oak.

Malbec with Afghan Kush

The spicy herbal notes from Afghan Kush play well with the plummy mocha and earth aroma of Malbec, while the earthiness grounds the light and fruity finish while adding slight body to the soft mouthfeel.

Pinot Noir with Cherry Crush

The fruity, with a touch of sour, nose on the Cherry Crush gently pulls everything out of the warm red fruit of Pinot Noir. The clean earthiness freshens up the almost sensual complexity of the richly structured bouquet.

Zinfandel with Candyland

The peppery sweetness of Candyland boosts and softens the frothy mouthfeel of the Zinfandel, while the hoppiness at the end amps up the dark berry notes on finish.

Sauvignon Blanc with Wedding Cake

The citrus nose of the Wedding Cake plays up the bright acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc, while the herbal notes vibe alongside the tangy finish.

Chardonnay with Black N Blue Kush

The herbal berry upfront of the Black N Blue Kush balances the bright fruit of the Chardonnay, while the peppery nose makes the toasted oak and vanilla dance even more with every full-bodied sip.

Merlot with Paris OG

The citrusy herbal-ness nose of the Paris OG soothes the blackberry and cassis notes of the Merlot while the peppery spice adds a kick to the ripe, almost baked, fruit aroma.

Rosé with Sour Diesel

The peppery citrus nose of the Sour Diesel adds some sweet and smooth to the dry Rosé, working with the herbal finish to provide a boost to the strawberries without overdoing the tart cherry notes.

Red Blend (cherry-forward) with Fuji Apple Haze

The sweet and spicy nose of the Fuji Apple Haze has the dark cherry of the Red Blend jumping, while the herbal notes make the silky soft finish remind of cherry cola with toasted marshmallows.

Peach with Pink Champagne

The peppery citrus of the Pink Champagne plays up the natural flavor of the semi-sweet Peach, while the hoppiness adds a frothy kick to the honey and mint finish.

Christina Rock is a Cape Town-based writer and creator. Follow her around the internet.