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 coats out of storage.
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.
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 fat unctuousness.
Here are some hearty wines to enjoy.
▪ 2011 Concannon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley: dense and rich, with aromas of black plums and cinnamon, full body, long finish; $34.
▪ 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.
▪ 2013 McManis Family Vineyards Petite Sirah, San Joaquin County: hint of oak, flavors of black raspberries and anise, very full body, firm tannins; $11.
▪ 2013 Murphy-Goode “The Fume” Sauvignon Blanc, North Coast, California (95 percent sauvignon blanc, 5 percent semillion): toasty oak, aromas of pink grapefruit and mangos, lush; $14.
▪ 2012 Arrowood Viognier White Wine, “Saralee’s Vineyard,” Russian River Valley: floral aromas, flavors of ripe peaches and oranges; $30.
▪ Votre Santé Chardonnay, by Francis Ford Coppola, Napa Valley: rich and soft, with aromas and flavors of ripe peas and pineapple, full body; $14.