Tannins & Terpenes

July 01, 2013 | NORTHWEST LEAF

How to pair wine with Cannabis

Story by Northwest Leaf | Descriptions by Wes Abney & Dean Smith | Styling by Dean Smith 


In wine, tannins are naturally occuring molecules found in grape skins and oak barrels that add color, complexity, bitterness and a dry mouth-feel to each sip. They are influenced by weather, natural setting and cross-selection. Red wine has more tannins because the grapes used are fermented with the seeds, skins and stems, while white wine is frequently fermented from just the crushed juice of white grapes or skinless red grapes. Foods such as meat or cheese that are high in protein or fat go well with tannin-rich wines.

In Cannabis, terpenes are produced by the trichomes of the plant, the same place where THC is produced. They provide powerfully beneficial circulatory and muscular effects. Much of Cannabis’ smell results from the terpene content. More than 120 types of terpenes can be produced in Cannabis. One, Limonene, is also found in citrus fruits like oranges and tangerines. Limonene is a potent anti-fungal and anti-cancer agent, and helps naturally reduce the presence of carcinogens in the Cannabis.

Big bursting flavors of blueberries with a rich velvet mouthfeel make this wine a special treat. It has a sweet smooth finish, and is a great choice for a fun and festive fruit wine. The flower can be described almost exactly the same way, with a clean and sharp smoke that brings immediate cerebral effects. The blueberry smell is more noticeable in the concentrate, with a heavy fruit finish when vaporized.


With tropical notes and a sweet berry taste, this strain compliments the crisp nature of the Sauvignon Blanc. The smoke is as sharp as the wine, and has a light and sweet finish on exhale. The wine is delicious and crisp, and strong lemon and citrus notes blend with subtle grassy characters and a clean finish.

The Espumante Rosado greets with a gorgeous deep pink color and a profusion of bubbles bursting with aromas of cherry, rose petals and red berries. The flower has a more complicated nose, mixing a heavy berry smell and taste with a flavor reminiscent of a vanilla-heavy spiced rum. A great pairing for the end of the night, or to enjoy in a moment of celebration.

Juicy blueberries, blackberries, violet, cocoa and minerals coat the palate with complex layers of wood smoke and Asian spices in this delectable wine. 
A standard size bottle runs $200, but this is the magnum size. It pairs well with the Blackberry Nirvana, a hybrid with a unique taste profile. The blackberry genetics are evident in smell, though underlying tones are of Asian spices and a peppery rich finish.


This aged port was sealed in oak barrels in 1952, and wasn’t bottled until 2011. It has the color of iced tea with a broad golden brand, and an intense and complex nose of almonds, cointreau, maple and apricot. Describing a flower smell by color can be difficult, but this strain just smells yellow. The lavender dominates, yet hides in the background until a nug is cracked open or smoked. There is a lot of citrusy sweetness to this strain, which compliments the cointreau and apricot, and it brings a perky and energetic high to this pairing.

Black currant morello cherries and red fruit flavors dominate this bold red wine. It has a supple attack, is fresh, round, and powerful with a generous finish. The flower is rich, sweet and piney, and complements the red wine in it’s differences, not similarities. It has a heavy, potent smoke and a bold high that pairs well with the strong nature of the wine.



This fantastic collab by two great breweries, Boulevard Brewing Co. and Sierra Nevada Brewery, has a beautiful deep dark caramel color with a glimmer of amber, and a strong smell of wheat plus hints of dark rye and black pepper. This strain jumps out of the jar in smell, with flavors of mango and citrus mixing with a piney sweetness that comes from the Space Queen parentage. The other half of this strain is the Orange Velvet, which lends a creamy undertone to the smell and especially the smoke. Together, the light tones of the bud do not overpower the beer however it adds a light citrus that complements the wheat backbone of the ale.

Immediately upon pouring a glass, the rich, dark, and bright red color should tip you off that Lagunitas has done it again. For an American Strong Ale, the UISD is surprisingly sweet with hints of cherries and citrus, but still brings the bold malty taste characteristic of Lagunitas’ craft brews. The brew’s malted character, which is enhanced and balanced simultaneously by tastes of roasted pine, really make this a must-try. Dark and earthy tones exude from this dense flower, matching well with the maltiness of the Skunk #1. The flavor and smoke are both dry and smooth, without the pronounced highs and lows of other strains. There are hints of pine and oak, which bring a friendly familiarity to the strain.

Wine & Location by Wine World 
400 N.E. 45th St. Seattle, WA 98105
206-402-6086 wineworldspirits.com


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