You can feel it in the air.
Depending on where you live, it may be restricted (for the time being) to the middle of the night… or you may feel it right in the middle of the day, even as the sun shines brightly (if not warmly) overhead.
It’s that “bite” in the air that can mean only one thing: Autumn has arrived.
There are other signals, too, of course.
Leaves turning from green to brilliant reds and yellows… then to brown… and ultimately forced to the ground.
Birds flying south.
Brett Favre dominating the conversations of sports fans.
Among wine lovers, the arrival of autumn means it’s time to adjust our drinking habits, and perhaps to rearrange our cellars or racks.
Those delicate wines of summer — the fruitful roses and refreshing Sauvignon Blancs — are now being replaced by more “substantial” wines.
Whereas spring and summer are the white-wine seasons, autumn and winter are the red-wine seasons.
The reason for the changeover is simple: When the weather turns cool… and then cold… most of us prefer to eat more hearty dishes.
Salads are replaced by thick soups. Chicken and veal are supplanted by beef and lamb.
And this more substantial food requires more substantial wines.
Of course, all of the above really is just one giant generality. Many of us continue to nosh on salads and lighter fare this time of year — if not because we want to, then because we need to.
But if you find yourself taking comfort in more comfort food, then it’s time to pull out the red wines, as well as whites that have been aged in oak barrels, so that you can match texture-to-texture and flavor spectrum-to-flavor spectrum.
You should always drink what you like, but if you’re willing to do some experimenting, the autumn and winter months ahead offer abundant possibilities for memorable wining-and-dining experiences.