By Food & Wine
Updated March 31, 2015
Photo courtesy of Lindt.

It's that time of year, when the changing season ushers in a whole new palette of rich flavors. The light and bright tastes of summer - and the rosés and Pinot Gris that went along with them - have given way to the more hearty and complex flavors of fall. Now's the time for earthy produce, warming soups, satisfying meats and grains, and decadent sweets. What better way to celebrate the fall bounty than by finding the perfect wine pairing for it all?

A favorite as we head into cooler months is a simple roast chicken with root vegetables. Pair the classic, crowd-pleasing dish with a buttery or moderately oaky Chardonnay. The wine will also play nicely off of crisp green salads and a variety of assertive cheeses like blues and aged cheddars.

When dining on juicy steaks, comforting beef stews, or roasts, reach for a Merlot, Cabernet, Burgundy, or Syrah. Those varietals are robust enough to match the intensity of red meat, without overpowering its nuanced flavors. And since many traditional recipes like Beef Bourguignon call for red wine on the list of ingredients, it's nice to open up a bottle, add it to the recipe, and enjoy sips while the wine brings the dish together and adds depth.

Vegetarian fare that gives mushrooms or dark, leafy greens center stage is versatile when it comes to wine pairings. You can go with a Chardonnay or Gewurztraminer that boast a little heft, or a light-to-medium-bodied Pinot Noir will also play nicely off the vegetables. All you have to do is decide if you're in the mood for white, or for red.

And don't forget dessert. Chocolate and wine share similar complexities of character and flavor profiles, so they pair beautifully together. Just as you would for food pairings, look for a wine that will evenly match the intensity of the chocolate. Experience Lindt EXCELLENCE 70% Cocoa alongside a glass of rich, juicy Merlot. A superb match in body and depth, the duo finishes with a decadent creaminess that coats the palate. Or, try sipping on a sweet, full-bodied ruby Port and note how it complements the heat of Lindt EXCELLENCE Chili, a fine aromatic dark chocolate spiked with the warm spice of red chili peppers. These complementary pairings are the perfect end cap to a wonderful meal, and will make any night feel special.

For more inspiration, discover these decadent Lindt chocolate recipes:

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