By Chriss Breen
Welcome to a special 4/20 edition of Wine on a Dime: Wine for a Dime-bag! This (almost) weekly column is all about wine, specifically wine that is cheap and delicious, because what else could one need in life! Each week, in addition to highlighting a few wines that I have been drinking, I will include tips for buying wine, so that in no time you will leave the Barefoot behind and know how to find that good-good glou-glou (French for drank) for less than a Hamilton.
Wine on a Dime and the Pioneer Log do not condone underage or unsafe drinking (or marijuana use) in any form. It is wine, not Burnett’s.
For the 4/20 article, we will be doing the seemingly impossible: pairing wine with weed. Like wine, weed’s different strains have different characteristics and flavors, so you may achieve different levels of success in pairing different strains (or edibles) with these wines. The key, like with any wine pairing, is to find complementary or matching flavor profiles: this accentuates the characteristics of the wine and whatever is being paired with it. In the spirit of full disclosure though, I have not smoked marijuana in years. That being said, I work at a Portland wine bar, meaning I work with a number of stoners who know their way around a wine tasting. After much deliberation with my well-informed coworkers, here are two wines should pair fairly well with any strain or edible, making them your cheat sheet to a nice blanc and bake!
2015 Leopard’s Leap Chenin Blanc
My initial thought for pairing wine with weed was Chenin Blanc, and when I put my boss on the spot, this is the pairing She came up with. Chenin is an incredible varietal, intensely aromatic, ripe with tropical fruits and citrus, and finishing with a distinct herbal note. This South African Chenin is a juice bar in a bottle; there is apricot and green apple and a bright citrus note that falls between grapefruit and lemon. Aside from fruit, there is the distinct herbality as well as a strong note of honey. The lightness and acidity is refreshing, and would be perfect to sip with a spliff. Pair this with a bright citrusy strain; think Jack Herer, Agent Orange, Tangerine Dream. $8.95 at Portland Wine Merchants on SE 35th Ave.
NV Pocas Ruby Port
Edibles have come a long way from the era of cannabutter cookies and brownies that you baked when your parents were out of town, but even in the era of edible everything, pairing marijuana and chocolate still makes so much sense. Whether it be a brownie or chocolate bar, Ruby Port is the way to go if you plan on wining, dining and blazing all over the course of a meal. Port is a fortified (alcohol added) red dessert wine from Portugal. Port is usually extensively aged and prohibitively expensive for the college budget, but Ruby Port is meant to be drunk young and is budget friendly. Ruby Port is loaded with chocolate and berry flavors, making it a natural pairing to any sort of weed-infused chocolatey treat. However, Port is not the type of wine that one drinks casually: because it is fortified and incredibly sweet, you would probably feel sick to your stomach after a few glasses, so indulge sparingly and keep in mind that a serving of port is only 3 ounces, about half of a typical glass of wine! This Port may exceed Wine on a Dime’s $10 threshold, but the only ruby port I have ever seen for under 10 dollars was at Trader Joe’s, and it was sold out at the time of writing, so this will have to do! $12.50 at Liner and Elsen Wine Merchants on NE Quimby St.
This week’s pro-tip is to tap into the culture of free weekend tastings at Portland wine shops. That is right: free wine! Many Portland bottle shops have extensive tasting schedules centered around regions or varietals that can cost a few bucks (if you are lucky, they will refund you with a bottle purchase), but many wine shops offer a free no-purchase-necessary tasting on weekends, and the wines they are usually pouring are in our limited college student budget! Remy from Portland Wine Merchants always has some bottle open to taste, while Bruce from Vino on SE 28th Ave. will happily pour 3-5 wines every Saturday and Sunday at no charge, as will Orange Line Wines in Sellwood. These free tastings are a great opportunity to sense out what you like and what you do not, ask questions and drink free wine! Salud!