The frost is on the pumpkin (in regions where they have frost. And pumpkins). Farther south, shivering socialites, alarmed at 60-degree temperatures, scurry to take fur coats (faux, one hopes) out of cold storage for the opera opening.
Time for hearty dinners: comforting beef stews, mac ’n’ cheese, chicken roasted whole, root vegetables fresh from the ground, apple pies hot from the oven.
And so, of course, time for hearty wines. Big, robust, full-bodied wines we had put aside for crisp, light wines around Memorial Day.
Never miss a local story.
Winemakers know this. And they know how to make hearty wines. Grow the grapes extra ripe for more fruit flavor and softer tannins. Crush the grapes and soak them on their skins for a longer time to extract extra flavor. Ferment and age the wines in oak barrels to make them toasty.
Ferment them up to 14 percent alcohol instead of the usual 12 to 13 percent, giving greater body and heft.
Go further. Put the wines through a secondary fermentation to turn their sharp malic acids into softer lactic acids similar to those in milk, creating the heady scent of butter.
With white wines, add a few semillon grapes for their unctuousness.
Here are some hearty wines to pick up this fall.
1. 2011 Concannon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley, California: dense and rich, with aromas of black plums and cinnamon, full body, long finish; $34.
2. 2013 Pellegrini Rosé of Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County: floral aroma, full body, intense flavors of strawberries, cherries and oranges, smooth finish; $20.
3. 2013 McManis Family Vineyards Petite Sirah, California: hint of oak, flavors of black raspberries and anise, very full body, firm tannins; $11.
4. 2013 Murphy-Goode “The Fume” Sauvignon Blanc, North Coast, California (95 percent sauvignon blanc, 5 percent semillion): toasty oak, aromas of pink grapefruit and mango, lush; $14.
5. Multivintage Napa by N.A.P.A. (Natalie, Anthony, Paul and Anne Scotto) “Michael’s Red,” Napa Valley (cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese, barbera, syrah and merlot): big, rich flavors of black cherries and black coffee, full body, ripe tannins; $17.
6. 2012 Arrowood Viognier “Saralee’s Vineyard,” Russian River Valley: floral aromas, flavors of ripe peaches and oranges; $30.
7. Votre Sante Chardonnay by Francis Ford Coppola, California: rich and soft, with aromas and flavors of ripe peas and pineapple, full body; $14.
8. 2013 William Hill Sauvignon Blanc, North Coast, California: sweet red grapefruit, pineapple and lemon aromas and flavors, crisp finish; $17.
9. 2012 PlumpJack Winery Merlot, Napa Valley (91 percent merlot, 8 percent malbec, 1 percent cabernet sauvignon): hint of oak, inky color, flavors of black raspberries and bittersweet chocolate; $56.
10. 2012 Kendall-Jackson Zinfandel, “Vintner’s Reserve,” Mendocino, California (88 percent zinfandel, 7 percent syrah, 3 percent petite sirah, 1 percent carignane, 1 percent merlot): dark color, aromas of red raspberries, flavors of black plums, full body, ripe tannins; $17.