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Wine Pairing 101

Wine goes with just about everything, but when you satisfy the right pairing it’s even better. We tapped on the shoulder of Danielle Ribaudo, wine curator x co-owner of Heirloom at the 1907  — an intimate + coveted spot local to NWA — to twist a few corks + give us the guide on all things wine x her take on pairings for date night.

01 Riesling: Typically thought of as a much sweeter white wine, but there are plenty of bone dry Rieslings as well that are super delicious and food-friendly.

Plays Well With:

  • spicy foods
  • chicken, shrimp, crab
  • carrot, squash, coconut, red onion
  • delicate cow’s milk

Date Night Tip: Turn up the heat! Spicier foods work great with riesling — think of fried rice, Thai foods, curry, chicken, or light seafoods. This is something you can make together, have a little fun with, and get creative.

02 Chenin Blanc: Another food-friendly white wine that is versatile in style and ranges from sweet to dry.

Plays Well With:

  • sweet + sour foods
  • roasted chicken, scallops, halibut
  • turnips, roasted potato, cauliflower
  • white rind cheeses [think: brie]

Date Night Tip: Keep it light at the dinner table. Roast chicken with vegetables. Serve salad with fresh, spicy greens like arugula, shaved apple, goat cheese, and some candied walnut with a simple balsamic dressing.

03 Pinot Noir: Extremely versatile wine for pairing with foods, and can range from light and fruity to heavier and more tannic.

Plays Well With:

  • earthy foods
  • pork, chicken, game
  • mushrooms
  • mild, soft french cow’s milk cheese

Date Night Tip: For a lighter pinot think of pairing with a fattier fish like a salmon, or a buttery vegetable-forward pasta dish. For an older or heavier pinot, go with something a bit meatier like wild game, duck, or even braised meat.

04 Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine is full-bodied, usually with notes of darker fruits, oak, and rich tannins. If you like bold, tannic wines, this is a great choice.

Plays Well With:

  • high fat + mouthwatering foods
  • short ribs, ribeye, burgers, grilled meats
  • grilled veggies, eggplant, peppers
  • gruyere or gouda cheeses

Date Night Tip: As the weather continues to get nicer by the day, consider a date night al fresco. Set up the outdoor table, add string lights for ambiance, and break out the grill. You can throw some steaks on if that’s your jam, or a juicy charred burger topped with a flavorful cheese.


See the rest of Danielle’s pairings x Chardonnay tasting on our OOO virtual series here.