Kid Carignan writes detective novels under another name. He is a wine lover who arranges wine and marijuana tastings, believing that the two products complement each other. WineGoggWe spoke to him during his recent stay in South Africa.
WineGoggle: Why do you believe wine and marijuana to be compatible?
Kid Carignan: Well, they are both natural products and their respective producers go to great lengths to emphasise their respective natural characteristics. Just like you get wine terroir you have marijuana terroir. Growers of good dope also embrace the farming practices followed by grape farmers. Organic is cool and desirable, low yields produce better quality grass and a basic respect for the natural environment your plantations occur in is required.
You can’t make good wine from bad grapes, and you sure can’t make a good joint from poor grass, either.
WG: What came first: dope or wine?
KC: I can’t remember, but then again, if you can remember the seventies you weren’t there. No, I was hanging out in Oregon to avoid going to Vietnam, not really keen to flip the border and hide in Canada. In Oregon the communes were hectically big on dope, and every third person had a gallon of Two Buck Chuck which was normally used to hydrate yourself after some frenetic smoking. I kind of liked the wine. But on days when I was not doing dope, the wine tasted really bad. Taste it after a few hits, and a lot of flavours came out. But at that stage my interest in wine was minimal, so I did not have a revelatory moment. Only later, when I was exposed to better wines, did I notice how dope complemented the flavour of the wine.
WG: When did you become interested in wine?
KC: Like most young wannabe writers of American origin, I had to do the Hemingway thing. I joined Tom McGuane and Jim Harrison on a six month hike through Spain and France, and began drinking some really pleasant wines. Jim was the big connoisseur ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ still is! ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ but Tom and I stuck to vin de pays, and we were really excited at the variety of quality wines in Spain and France. And, of course, they really tasted different to the wines we were used to Stateside. But it grew from there. Once I started publishing and getting advances and stuff, I bought wine ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ better stuff.
WG: And the idea of combining wine with marijiuana?
KC: Well in the eighties it was always wine and food; wine and Mexican; wine and chocolate; wine and bread. As if people didn’t have enough confidence to drink the stuff as is. The I was invited to a gig Krug Champagne had at the Carlyle Hotel in New York. And here they were matching Champagnes with various cigars. (Cuban, by the way.) So we’d have a vintage Champagne paired with a Monte Christo or Cohiba. It wasn’t bad, but spoilt the Champagne. However, it got me thinking….
WG: Wine and marijuana?
KC: Yeah. Cigar smoke is big and cloying. Good dope is not as invasive on the palate. Of course, dope varies immensely. But all dope dries out the taste-buds for an instance. Now take those dried little buds of yours and have them wallow in a really good Cabernet and see what happens. They ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ the taste-buds ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ sink into the flavours of the wine making it a far superior tasting experience.
WG: So essentially you are saying that wine tastes better with grass?
KC: Well if you don’t believe me, give it a try. Take a hit of some average grass – Rwanda Royal, for example, or Kabul Emerald. Hold it in your lungs for thirty seconds and exhale slowly. Now take a glug of a medium-bodied Rh?+¦???+¦?+¦????ne. You are going to find much more fruit on that wine than if you’d chewed on a steak or some meat rather than a smoke.
WG: Are there any wines that work better with a specific type of marijuana?
KC: Look, I don’t think one should be too prescriptive. Smoke and drink what you like. In my experience of wine and dope, which has been intense, I have however come up with a few observations.
If the dope is of poor quality, like that majat grown in Cape Town, you need a cool white wine. The stuff burns hot and is edgy, and your wine experience will be much better if the smoke is followed with a cool Chenin Blanc of Chardonnay. If you get some heavy stuff, real Durban Poison or Moroccan Mad Man, you are going to go for your big wines. Bordeaux or big American Cabernets. The tannins in these wines stand up to smoke of top weed, which is important as this kind of weed has a high resin content.
WG: You spend three months a year in South Africa. What do you think of our marijuana?
KC: You have a lot of potential, really. Especially since you have began focussing on quality and learning where to plant the good stuff. Durban Poison is great if you can find the real stuff. Can’t they put a Seal of Quality on the real stuff? There are such a lot of rip-offs calling themselves DP. It really is top notch. But too much of your dope is aimed at the lower end of the market. I think you need a body to control the industry, an organisation that unites all grass growers in the cause of growing better quality dope that can do justice to these fine wines. Weed of South Africa ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ WOSA ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ could be a good name.
WG: Wosa is taken.
KC: Whatever. Grass of SA (GOSA) or Dope of SA (DOSA).
WG: Best combination?
KC: A Premier Cru Burgundy from Pommard and a perfect joint of Algerian Black. I do this combination each time I finish a book, which makes the writing process something to look forward to each day.
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