aligoté and appetizers
The golden Aligoté grape, from the Bouzeron region of Burgundy, produces a tart, refreshing and slightly fruity wine that's the perfect aperitif. Try it with almost any hors d'oeuvres you can imagine, but hold the tomatoes, please--they're too acidic.
beaujolais and basil
A Beaujolais-Villages or Beaujolais Nouveau, grapey and full of youthful exuberance, pairs beautifully with all kinds of bistro food. Its fruit and fragrance bring out the best in chicken stuffed with a mixture of aromatic basil and crisp bacon.
chianti and country ham
A Chianti's generous fruit and light tannins cut the saltiness and enhance the gaminess of country ham. It's great paired with ham that's been cut into slivers, simmered in a creamy tomato sauce and served over soft polenta. Such down-to-earth food doesn't demand a serious riserva; a lighter (and less expensive) classico from a recent vintage will do just fine.