Cannabis Terpene Pairing

This afternoon I was stopping into the grow site to pick up a few things. As I badged into cultivation, I took about two steps and one deep breath before immediately identifying that familiar sweet, yet earthy aroma. A smile washed across my face and the nostalgia of the trim room came flooding back to me. Two weeks ago, I was promoted from the trim team to marketing- which is amazing because I’m on the road meeting so many patients and people in the industry. But I miss my friends and I miss being covered in sticky, stinky trichomes. Mostly because I have a blog, The Stoned Sommelier, and I like to do terpene profile pairings with beers, wines & spirits. Being in the trim room allowed me to become fully acclimated to the terpene profile of each strain.

I heard the footsteps of the Trim Room Manager, Kyle, and scurried to meet him at the door. I threw my arms up in excitement,

“Let me guess!! You’re trimming Gelato Cake aren’t you?!”

He nodded, matching my level of enthusiasm. “Yes!” he exclaimed.

“I can smell it all the way out here!!”, I said.

He opened the door to the room holding all the untrimmed flower, ushering me to take a whiff, “This is the best batch yet!”, he said.

Flashback to a month ago when we were harvesting this batch of Gelato Cake. You could feel the contagious level of excitement from the cultivation team as they carefully took down each plant, preparing her for the curing process. The fan leaves were a deep dark purple, a beautiful contrast to the bright orange pistils. The flower itself was laden with milky white trichomes- and don’t even get me started on the smell! He was right- this was the best batch yet.

It wouldn’t feel right to end this little snippet without offering up a Thanksgiving wine pairing. With Thanksgiving being such a heavy meal and Gelato Cake being a heavier strain, I want to balance that out with my wine choice. Tannins are a component in the skin of the grape and offer red wine its astringent mouth feel and heavier body. Because white wine lacks tannins, it also has a lighter body. Now, you may ask, which white wine should we choose? This is where it gets fun. Try to think of different varietals of wine like different strains of cannabis. They’re all the same family but contain vastly different genetic makeups that offer slightly different growth habits, and flavor profiles. This is where I look at the terpenes in my cannabis. Gelato Cake tested highest in Limonene & Linalool. Limonene is a citrusy terpene, found in the peels and rinds of oranges, lemons & grapefruits. Linalool lends a soft floral aroma- think of a fresh bouquet of roses. I wanted to keep my wine local, so I set my sights on Black Ankle Vineyards- an estate winery located in Mt. Airy. Much like us, they have a strong core focus on sustainability- framing out their tasting room with wood from trees grown on the property, home-grown straw insulation, and solar panels to generate electricity. I tasted through a series of their white wines and decided on the 2019 Bedlam- a white blend. This wine presents with strong floral notes on the nose, probably due to the Muscat grapes used in the blend. Muscat is one of the only wines that contains the terpene Linalool. The middle palate offers a complex combination of minerality & spice leading to a crisp citrusy finish in the back. The high acidity cuts through the heaviness of the meal and makes a beautiful compliment to the sweet & tangy smoke of the Gelato Cake. The beautiful thing about pairings, is that you are never wrong. It’s a completely subjective craft, and everyone has a different palate. Cheers to a peaceful Thanksgiving surrounded by the ones we love, good cannabis & local libations. Happy Pairing!