It’s no secret that I love to try new wines, no matter what other people may say about them. But where would you draw the line? Must the wines all fit into traditional renditions of wine? Or would you be willing to try something truly unique? Even if it fell across lines that not everyone agrees with?
We are in 2018 and marijuana has now slowly become more socially accepted here in the US. Several states have made it legal to purchase, even if on a Federal level it is still considered illegal. This strange situation means that it is acceptable to possess, grow, and even commercially sell in certain states. It is, however, still very much illegal to mail across state lines.
Cannabis, another name for marijuana, has become such a booming agricultural industry that some vineyards are actually being ripped out to make way for pot farms. This isn’t the best news for winemakers. A large portion of winemakers partner with vineyard owners to source their grapes. Fewer available vineyards could mean that there are not enough grapes to go around. It can also mean higher prices for the supply of grapes that are available.
One winery in California, Rebel Coast Winery, has ingeniously blended the two industries together by releasing a Sauvignon Blanc infused with Cannabis. As of January 1st, 2018 marijuana became legal in California, so now anyone in the state over 21 can purchase a bottle. The caveat is that while marijuana is now legal in California, making a beverage that contains both alcohol and marijuana is still illegal. For this reason, they have removed nearly all of the alcohol. It only contains a total of 20mg THC, which they claim is just enough to be enjoyed, yet not too much to make you unable to socialize (AKA baked out of your mind). Rebel Coast Winery is a fully functioning winery and offers “normal” wines as well. I spotted their wine in an online article, and decided I had to see how “normal” this wine actually tasted. As someone who lives in California and dedicated to try every wine at least once, I seized the opportunity to experience something unique.
To determine how normal this wine tasted, I needed another wine equal on paper for the comparison. Rebel Coast’s Sauvignon Blanc has a 2016 vintage and is made from Sonoma County grapes, therefore I wanted to find a wine that matched all of these. I found a 2016 Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc by The Dreaming Tree at my local supermarket. Looking up details on this winery, and was surprised to learn that it was co-founded by musician Dave Matthews from the Dave Matthews Band.
Right away when I uncorked the Rebel Coast bottle, I could smell the aroma of marijuana. They obviously aren’t trying to hide it’s special contents. Once both wines were poured, a side by side comparison showed just how different they looked visually. The Dreaming Tree wine had your typical white wine golden clarity, while the Rebel Coast wine was more murky like a lemonade with a hint of green. My actual first thought was that it resembled a glass of absinthe once sugar and water are stirred with it.
California wines do tend to be fuller bodied with higher alcohol content and a stronger nose, and The Dreaming Tree’s wine had all of these typical traits. It had aromas of strong green apples and grass. Rebel Coast’s mainly just smelled like marijuana, but also had a very light pear and pineapple scent. Dreaming Tree’s wine tasted like traditional Sauvignon Blanc with lots of tart, grapefruit, and acid. Rebel Coast’s wine had a lemony pear taste with a bit of sweetness and no detectable acid. It reminded me more of a light Riesling, rather than a Sauvignon Blanc.
These wines really have nothing in common to me. Dreaming Tree’s wine perfectly represents a typical average California white wine, while Rebel Coast’s wine is in it’s own world. It’s an easy drink that should compete well with fruity cocktails at the beach or a Las Vegas hotel pool. It’s light, has a hint of sweetness, and a subtle marijuana after taste. None of this is so overpowering though, which can be a bit of problem if you don’t want to drink the whole bottle all at once.
I drank a full glass fairly quickly myself and started to notice a very light buzz within about 30 mins. It was, however, no worse than an alcohol induced buzz from a glass of normal wine. I posted last week on Instagram that I planned to drink a Cannabis-infused wine, and would anyone be willing to try it? I had several dedicated wine fans message me that in no way would they consider trying it. Some went as far as saying it was an abomination and ruining wine. I personally prefer the taste of traditional wines, but I see no reason to prevent artistic license. I could only imagine their harsh comments towards wine coolers! It’s clear Rebel Coast knows their audience, and it’s most certainly not purist wine drinkers unwilling to try something different.
How about you, would you try it?