After much consideration, I decided to use a zinfandel in my beef stew, and it came out great. I also used a 1/2 cup of brandy to scrape all the browned bits at the bottom of the pan after searing the meat. I chose Buena Vista Zinfandel since I do enjoy drinking it and it is very inexpensive but not low quality. Off the topic a bit, I think Buena Vista makes great wines for the price. Their Sauvingon Blanc is, in my humble opinion, one of the best sauvi's out there, and it usually hovers around 6-7 bucks (it is cheaper at Trader Joe's but I think TJ's sometimes keeps the wine outdoors or in the sun because whenever I buy that sauvi there, it tastes different....). Their cabernet isn't too shabby either. Anyway, back to the stew- not only did it taste wonderful, but the aroma of red zin, garlic, beef, and thyme filled the house for hours- I'd make it again just to be surrounded in that scent.
Thanks again for all the advice!