Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Marijuana-infused wine tasting notes

Marijuana is like chocolate: it's great after wine, or before wine, or possibly even instead of wine, but not so much in wine.

I learned this recently when I finally had the chance to taste one of California's most legendary illegal products: marijuana-infused wine.

A winery which I won't name opened a bottle of high-quality estate-grown Pinot Noir infused with what the winemaker said was high-quality medical marijuana. (I believe it was OG Kush, but sorry, I don't remember for sure.)

I felt lucky. Though pot-infused wines did spark a well-read story in The Daily Beast, this is precisely the sort of wine experience that wineries don't normally invite journalists to share, just because I might blog about it. Prophecy!

 Unfortunately, I really like this winery's red wines, but not with marijuana in them. It tasted a lot closer to bong water than Burgundy. The powerful skunkiness of the pot overwhelmed any charm from the Pinot.

Imagine my surprise when the winemaker claimed that she makes it not for the psychological effects, but for the flavor and the novelty. And because it's popular at wine club dinners. Dude. Seriously. I understand not drinking wine for the psychological effects, though if you don't like a little buzz you probably shouldn't be drinking wine. But marijuana? For the taste? That's just, like, not getting the concept.

I wish I could tell you I tested the infusion effects under strict scientific conditions, drinking enough of it on an empty stomach to see if I would consider Pink Floyd totally awesome. But I disliked the taste so much that I couldn't drink enough to get a buzz. So I had some Armagnac and lost patience with a guitar solo.

UPDATE: A day after this blog post ran, I got an email from a winemaker that said, about marijuana-infused wines: 

I’ve tasted a few (never made one) and they’ve not only tasted no good, but make no sense as a substrate to deliver THC.  Cannabinoids are large, fat soluble compounds that are not particularly soluble or extractable in low alcohol solutions.  That’s why people use butter (heated to break down the cellulose fibers of the plant), and subsequent baked goods or chocolate as a superior final product.

While I will be voting to legalize marijuana once California comes to its senses and puts it on the ballot again, I cannot condone this particular taste combination. Just because something is legal, like mayonnaise soda, doesn't make it right.

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Jon Bjork said...

Thanks for putting a Tuesday morning smile on my face, Blake!

Andy said...

wine and pot seems like an unpleasant combination. On the other hand, I've always wondered about using marijuana in conjunction with or instead of hops in a pale ale or IPA. Hops and buds are botanical cousins and obviously share a similar aroma profile. Do you know if that has been done?

W. Blake Gray said...

Andrew: I've seen hemp beer but that's not the same thing. I'll bet this has been done, though. I'm not a beer guy, but I agree with you that it's a better potential infusion.

andrewbandysmith said...

I've had a couple of rosés infused with weed. A much better option than reds and especially better in whole cluster pressed rosé that already has green notes. I'm with the winemaker you quote. If it was me, I woukd decarboxylate the marijuana (heat it up to change THCA to THC), then infuse in high-ish percentage alcohol, then blend with the desired wine. I'm guessing this is also how Clark Smith would do it.

jo6pac said...

I had this made for me by a small winery that is no longer in business and this wasn't the reason. We used the finest Columbian gold of the day 5 lbs to 1000 gallons of wine. It was added with the juice and skins were doing there thing(Heat and it bleaches the THC out) and we used a really fine Zin. The resolute was wonderful, there was a hint of Mary Jane when opening the bottle then that disappeared. Then after on normal glass full you would notice this smile coming across your face that there was no way to get rid of. A lady friend and I were out to dinner in Marin at a real small place one evening end every diner and employee including the owner had a glass and thought it was wonderful:) To get rid of the skunk problem let the MJ dry out completely. I even had labels made for it, lots of fun in 1977 and 1978.

I have a small experiment going with a Zin I opened threw in one small bud the size my thumb nail a few weeks ago and will be trying when an old friend show up next month.

Thanks WBG and to the winemaker who is giving a try;-)

Time to open a bottle of whine and watch the people go home or to work.