For this late spring, early summer pairing, we wanted to find something light, versatile, and refreshing enough to capture the lively, vibrant mood of the season allowing for plenty of time spent outdoors with friends. This is a pairing that won’t make you want to cancel all your plans, but will instead make you want to stay out even longer. We also wanted to try something new and different for our pairing series, and Harlequin GDP, paired with Carmel Ridge Winery’s Sauvignon Blanc, fits the bill perfectly.
Harlequin GDP Background & Genetics
Harlequin GDP’s parents could not be more different from each other. Harlequin is one of the earlier CBD dominant strains, descended from landraces such as retro-classic Columbian Gold, cozy Nepali indicas, and Thai and Swiss sativas. The strain is known for its 5:2 CBD to THC ratio, and it is favored for mood lift and pain relief rather than sheer recreational power. However, it predates newer, headline-making CBD strains like Charlotte’s Web and ACDC, which generally boast cannabinoid profiles more heavily dominated by CBD. In other words, Harlequin is a CBD strain for people who don’t mind getting high.
And for our purposes, we’re taking this one step further, with a strain that combines the benefits of CBD, and Harlequin’s sativa tendencies, with the pure relaxation of classic indica Granddaddy Purple. The result is a best-of-both worlds strain that offers, in this case, about 7 percent CBD and 5 percent THC. While this sounds like a minuscule amount of THC by today’s standards, it adds up fairly quickly, and the two cannabinoids work together to create a substantial, yet clear-headed and mellow buzz. As we enter a new era for cannabis, in which high-quality strains can offer more bang for your buck than purchasing cannabis in the black market, strains like this are worth exploring, even for old-school THC fans. In this case, the CBD works with the THC to create a more balanced effect, while also tempering certain effects like sleepiness and appetite stimulation. Together, these compounds create a more functional cannabis experience overall, which is perfect for outdoor, social, daytime activities that are ideal this time of year.
Carmel Ridge 2015 Sauvignon Blanc
On the alcohol side of the pairing, we tried Carmel Ridge Winery’s 2015 Sauvignon Blanc. Grown in the Carmel Valley of Monterey County, Carmel Ridge exemplifies what wines from the Monterey area have to offer. Wines have been grown in the area since 18th century Spanish friars began growing grapes and taking advantage of the region’s varied and unique microclimates, including both cool fog and warm sunshine.
Sauvignon Blancs are known for their crispness, a result of high acidity and low sugar. The grape originates in Bordeaux, France, where it was known to grow wild like a weed (pun intended.) It worked its way up from a humble ingredient of a dessert wine, to become the star of its own wine that soon became popular among the bar patrons of Paris. It didn’t become a household name worldwide, however, until New Zealand winemakers made Sauvignon Blanc popular in the 1980s.
In the glass, the aroma of the wine is crisp and light, with fresh, grassy notes and a citrusy finish. The first sip is light and airy, with a floral vanilla note and an acidic tartness that would be a nice complement to a seafood dish. Like many good white wines, the body is light yet round, and the finish is persistent and long lasting with a green apple tail end like a granny smith.
The vapor from the Harlequin GDP brings out the apple dimension, and both have grape components that highlight each other, though from very different ends of the grape spectrum. The strain has a dark grape, berry aroma, while the wine has a tart, white grape element. The vapor also rounds out the wine and reduces its tartness. On its own, Harlequin is herbal, peppery, and spicy, but here, fruitier notes start to emerge.
Without the wine, you’d need to consume a fair amount of Harlequin to feel the effects. But, with the 15 percent alcohol, the THC element of the strain comes out in full effect. Choosing white wine instead of red keeps the alcohol buzz on the lighter side as well, without the full, cozy, heavy sensations that you would expect from red wines like pinot noir. While the pairing is as relaxing and calm as you would expect, a gentle euphoria would make it possible to remain active and social. The analgesic effects of the CBD contribute to this effect, relaxing your muscles and mellowing aches and pains
When it comes to taste and aroma, this pairing is about contrast, with musky and herbal vapor, paired with the light citrus and floral tones of the wine. Yet, the overlap in the grape flavors accentuate the fresh, boldness of the two flavors. And when it comes to effect, the pairing offers a functional yet irresistible synergy.