Among the best values: Native Southern Italian varieties like nutty, rich Falanghina; dense, powerful Aglianico; and big, juicy Primitivo (the Italian counterpart to American Zinfandel).
Pairing: When it comes to hamburgers, any robust red wine is likely to pair well. But Bobby Flay's smoky-sweet chipotle-peanut barbecue sauce requires an intensely juicy, flavorful wine, such as a Primitivo.
"Grower" Champagnes, from small, independent French estates, are the latest trend in sparkling wine. Names to know: Pierre Gimonnet & Fils, Champagne Egly-Ouriet, Chartogne-Taillet Champagne, Vilmart & Cie, Guy Charlemagne.
Pairing: A rich snack like these crispy hush puppies–cornmeal dumplings–would be perfect with Champagne.
Most Americans associate Bordeaux with the complex and very expensive wines of great châteaus such as Lafite-Rothschild. But the region has many châteaus that produce reliable values, too. Three to look for: Château Bonnet Rouge, Château Greysac, and Château Cap de Faugères.
Pairing: Meat as buttery as this beef tenderloin goes well with a tannic red Bordeaux.
Many top French wines are reliably great no matter the vintage, but they're produced in minuscule amounts. Here, three stellar, findable French wines: William Fevre Chablis Montmains Premier Cru, Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Rouge, and Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill.
Pairing: Champagne like Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill goes well with salty foods like fried artichokes.