This is really an adaptation of a pomodoro sauce, since it uses basil instead of oregano, but I put it here because of the meat. If you want to mess with the herbs and spices, be my guest. The core of this recipe comes from one I learned at Trattoria Ecco Italia, an Italian restaurant in Boston, where I cooked in 1991-92.
Makes about 4-6 servings, serve with the pasta of your choice (though I would select something like penne or farfalle.
Heat the oil over a medium heat. Mince the onions and toss them in, stirring until they begin to turn translucent. Toss in the minced garlic and stir frequently, until the garlic is just turning golden brown. (I find this method--adding the garlic second--works well to keep the garlic from burning. Garlic is much more delicate than onion.) Add tomatoes and cook over low-medium heat about 20 minutes. Cook the ground beef, then add to the sauce. Stir in the wine--but be sure to use a wine that you would drink, not the dregs that are left in that old bottle in your refrigerator. Make it something nice. Add seasonings, stir, and let cook (covered) on low heat for at least another 40 minutes.
You can eat it at this point, but if you have substituted your own chopped tomatoes for the crushed, canned ones, you will absolutely need to let it cook for at least another 3 hours to let everything break up properly. And in any event I would recommend at least three hours total cooking time with the crushed tomatoes.
I would not recommend a Merlot with this dish--a Barbera might do quite nicely. But as always, drink what you like. Enjoy!