Cream sauce pastas, while rich and luscious, can overwhelm the palate in some wine pairings.  IntoWine.com asked our panel of wine experts to solve the problem and suggest a great bottle to pair with a cream sauce pasta:

For those of you yet to discover the glory of Viognier, let me tell you a few virtues of this wonderful wine I found lingering in an empty bottle of Domaine Michel and Stéphane Ogier Viognier de Rosine . The Viognier grape acts similar to Riesling, it appears sweet, often contains some diesel, petrol or similar fossil fuel reminding aroma; yet Viognier wines are bone-dry and slightly higher in alcohol which allow them to pair wonderfully with thick, rich cream based sauces like an alfredo sauce. The Ogier Viognier comes from 20 year old vines in the Nothern Rhone region of Southern France planted on the opposite side of the Rhone river from the famed Cote Rotie Appellation. And like a full bodied Chardonnay, the wine is fermented and aged in oak barrels. This chameleon-like grape is as volumptuous as Chardonnay with a delicate and floral aroma of wild flowers and summer sage. Yet the striking minerality and racing acidity makes the tropical flavors seem sweet and boisterous. This wine screams for cream and cheese. - Michael Whitehead, IntoWine Featured Writer

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Who among us doesn’t love pasta?
A cream-based pasta, almost regardless of what you add, can work with so many different wines. Therefore, I prefer to go against type, choosing a wine, either red or white, with enough acid to “cut” the cream. But the point of the cream is to enjoy it! Therefore, I like the 2007 Curtis Roussanne ($25) from the Santa Ynez Valley. With seven months in barrel, this wine is soft like its creamy counterpart. But additionally, this roussanne does have the acid necessary for structure. There’s enough spice, tart apple and slight citrus notes to support the creamy pasta and the luxurious mouth feel to enhance it. Plus you have a viscous wine which partners well with a viscous pasta without fatiguing your palette. - Michael Cervin, Wine Judge, Restaurant Critic, and IntoWine Featured Writer

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I confess. I’m a California Chardonnay hater. I find the majority of California Chardonnays to be too oaky, too flabby, too over-the-top, or just plain uninteresting. Give me an aromatic German Riesling or a lively Loire Sauvignon Blanc any day and I’ll be happy. In all likelihood those wines will be better matched to the food on my dinner plate, while a bombastic buttery, oaky California Chard would just make my meal cower and hide. But even I will admit that nothing is better suited to pasta with cream sauce than California Chardonnay. A good fettuccini alfredo longs for the creaminess of California Chardonnay, while ravioli with lobster cream sauce can become downright mesmerizing when accompanied by one. But not just any California Chard will do. The key is finding one that is rich and stylish without being ostentatious. One producer who has been consistent year in and year out of making top quality Chardonnays is Ramey. Ramey does a number of outstanding single-vineyard Chardonnays, including Hyde, Hudson, and Ritchie vineyards, but their standard Ramey Russian River Valley bottling costs about half as much as the single-vineyards without compromising any character. For this wine David Ramey obtains fruit from a number of high quality growers, such as Dutton, Heintz, and Rochioli. Oak, fruit, and acid are all balanced to the point of precision in this wine. On the palate it maintains a creamy mouthfeel with lovely notes of apple, mineral, and spice. I recently had this wine with ravioli with lobster cream sauce and almost swooned. Pretty impressive for a California Chardonnay hater! - Kareasa Wilkins, Wine Consultant for Weimax Wines & Spirits in Burlingame, CA and an IntoWine Featured Writer

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