There's snow on the ground in many states, prompting drivers to put on their snow tires. And even in the warmer areas the residents have hauled out umbrellas and boots.
So it's time for comfort foods. And, of course, comfort wines.
Comfort foods are rich and hearty. They put a tear in your eye as you remember Mom's cooking. They cause you to ignore daunting levels of fat, calories and cholesterol.
Comfort wines are soft and round, without hard edges of tannin or fruit acids. And they're often a comfort to your wallet as well.
Here are some of my favorites:
The food: mac 'n' cheese. The wine: 2011 Mirassou Pinot Noir, California: hint of sweetness, flavors of black cherries and vanilla, ripe tannins; $12.
The food: roast chicken. The wine: 2011 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Riesling, California. (88 percent white riesling, 10 percent gewurztraminer, 2 percent malvasia bianca): lightly sweet, with litchi and honeysuckle flavors; $11.
The food: meat loaf. The wine: 2011 Don Gascon Malbec, Lujan de Cuyo and Uco Valley, Argentina: aromas and flavors of black plums and milk chocolate, smooth and soft; $15.
The food: Cuban ropa vieja shredded beef in a tomato sauce served over rice. The wine: 2010 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Barbera, Mendocino County: bright, light red raspberry flavors, soft tannins; $16.
The food: beef-and-beans chili, as hot as you like. The wine: 2010 Frank Family Vineyards Zinfandel, Napa Valley: black raspberries and black pepper, spicy, soft and lush; $36.
The food: beef stew. The wine: 2010 Carmen Gran Reserva Carmenere, Colchagua Valley, Chile: hearty and rich, with black cherry and mocha flavors; $15.
The food: turkey tetrazzini with pasta in a cheesy sauce. The wine: 2011 Bonterra Chardonnay, Mendocino County: rich and buttery, with ripe apricot and peach flavors; $14.
The food: lobster pot pie. The wine: 2009 Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Marquis de Laguiche Premier Cru: powerful floral aroma, intense flavors of peaches and other dried fruits, weighty on the tongue, silky, endless finish; $88. (Sorry to suggest such an expensive wine, but I consider lobster pot pie, with butter, cream and sherry, to be the finest dish ever created by humankind.)
The food: chocolate. The wine; 2010 Penfolds Thomas Hyland Shiraz, Adelaide, Australia.: lightly sweet, with flavors of black raspberries and milk chocolate; $15.