For a Valentine’s Day pairing, we wanted a combo that would lay the groundwork for a holiday dedicated to spending time with one’s significant other. To celebrate this couple’s day, a great wine is high up on the checklist for many people. While wine might traditionally be paired with chocolate or a fragrant cheese, (and either one would make a great follow-up to this pairing) we wanted a combination for a different kind of Valentine’s Day.

Can cannabis be romantic? It sure can for two people who love it on any day of the year. Some strains even offer more specific benefits for a night of romance, and for the first year of legal, adult-use sales in California, what could be a better way to celebrate?

 

Butler Pond's 2015 Pinot Noir

Trader Joe’s is always a great place to start for good wine that won’t break the bank. Their Butler Pond 2015 Pinot Noir is an award-winning choice to set the mood on this most amorous of days. Mid-range by Trader Joe’s standards, but downright cheap by any other measure, it won Double Gold in the San Francisco Chronicle’s 2018 Wine Competition, and comes right from the heart of California wine country, in Napa.

Pinot Noir is named for the type of grape from which the wine is made. It is among the most temperamental and difficult grapes to grow, which accounts from the allure of Pinot Noir discussed in, and further propagated by, the movie Sideways. The plant itself is moody, sensitive to both diseases and bad weather. It has developed a reputation as a wine for true wine lovers. But don’t let the association with wine snobbery scare you off. While the French wines made from the grape, called Red Burgundies, are notoriously expensive, the Californian take on the grapes is usually affordable and delicious – versatile enough to pair with any food, and light enough to drink on its own.

Pinot Noir is known for red fruit flavors, such as cherries and strawberries, (the sexiest of fruits, of course) and older vintages are even known for what wine lovers call earthy “forest floor” aromas. While Pinot Noir can pair well with most foods, it goes especially well with Italian food, and fatty fish like salmon. For bonus points, try it with a mushroom risotto to bring out the earthier flavors.

 

Kimbo Kush

kimbo kush indica hybrid strain

For a cannabis pairing, however, we wanted something to accent the berry and cherry fruit notes that work so well for Valentine’s Day. Kimbo Kush, named for the late Bahamian mixed martial artist Kimbo Slice, offers the perfect flavor spectrum, with both earthy and fruit notes to complement the wine. In addition, the deep purple color lends a great visual component to the pairing.

Kimbo Kush is an indica-leaning hybrid, a cross of Blackberry Kush and Starfighter. Some “purple” strains have a visual impression that offers only a vague impression of purple, with slight lavender accents on buds that are in truth, mostly mint-green. This is not one of those strains. Deep purple and violet dominate these buds. The colors range from pale violet to dark purple, barely leaving room for a few mere hints of green in between. It looks great sitting next to the Pinot Noir in a glass, with its dark burgundy color, and deep pink around the edges.

The buds are unbelievably dense and tightly packed into tiny, almost perfectly rounded nugs that grind into a barely believable amount of ground flower. Take this opportunity to put your nose right into the grinder as soon as you break up the buds. You’ll be rewarded with a deep and enticing berry scent with an intoxicating, pungent, diesel aroma on the finish with a floral (lavender) accent.  

On the tongue, the aromas become less intense but more varied, with the tart berry aroma (think cranberries or wild blueberries) accompanied by grape, fuel, and grapefruit-citrus tones. Though lacking a big punch when they first hit your taste buds, these flavors will continue to linger and develop over a few minutes. The perfect chance to add some wine.

 

The Pairing

With a light-body, good balance between sweet and dry, and low tannins (the compound from grape skins that leads to a puckering feeling in the back of the palate), this wine goes down gently and easily. It is a well-rounded, fruit-forward wine, with a hint of citrus acidity. The berry and cherry flavors dominate, specifically reminiscent of dark cherry or cranberry. There is a little bit of earthy woodiness on the back of the palate. The berry and cherry tastes bring out nearly identical notes in the Kimbo Kush, and in turn, the earthiness of the Kush brings out the subtle woodiness of the wine.

In terms of effect, this is a nighttime pairing – perfect for a romantic night in front of the fire (or Netflix binge) on your Valentine’s evening. The combination is cozy, relaxing, and talkative. The indica effects are warm and body-focused, and the red wine adds to this effect, helping you and your Valentine to sink into the couch for a night of cuddling. However, the giddy, conversational element of the Kimbo Kush, from its Starfighter side, is also brought out by the 13.5 percent alcohol content of the wine. This pairing isn’t likely to leave you silent or burnt out.

The result? Kimbo Kush and Butler Pond’s 2015 Pinot Noir make for the perfect combination of effects for a date night, especially if you’re choosing to stay in. All you’ll need for this Valentine’s Day is this pinot, the Kimbo Kush, some homemade Italian food, a great movie, and a comfy couch where you can spend the rest of the evening, whether that’s with a significant other or simply with friends, this pairing is equally great.

For this special Valentine's Day cannabis pairing we suggest you vibe with your loved one to the soothing, sensual sounds of our Strawberry Fields Cloud Surfing mix... especially crafted for all the love birds out there. #FloatWithUs