It might surprise you to learn that I don’t do a lot of fancy wine drinking over the Holidays. Good wine, yes, but not necessarily expensive, cellared, prized possessions. At Christmas with the prime rib we drank Odisea Wine Company’s Tres Tintos, a blend of three Spanish varietals, Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Graciano. At $19.48, this 73 case production wine packs a big punch. A forward, extracted Californian red for sure, but if you’re not looking for subtlety, this one’s for you. For my Holiday pilgrimage to the beloved House of Prime Rib, I brought along a bottle of 2007 Lacuna. You really do get a lot of wine for the money here. The full-scaled fruit cut nicely through the rich meaty goodness of the prime rib. We blasted through our first couple of drops, but thankfully we loaded up the last go around so that those of you who wish to reorder will have the opportunity to do so. Once it is gone, the Lacuna will be tough to replace. For a New Year’s Eve soiree, my BFF made a rockin’ Moroccan beef stew, so I brought along the 2004 Cotes du Rhones Villages Terre d’Argile from Domaine Janasse. This was a perfect match. The spices in the stew mirrored the spices in the wine: cinnamon, cumin, and coriander. With a bit of time in bottle, the edges have smoothed out. It was an overwhelming favorite at the party, where there were a few first-time French wine drinkers. I could see the light bulbs turning on above their heads. A recent purchase, the 2004 Cotes du Rhones Villages Terre d’Argile was offered to us at an enticing end of vintage price. At releasethis had the “suggested retail price” of $30, we are offering it at $15.99 per bottle ($13.59 by the case)!!! Not a bad way to start the new year off! The only downside here is that stock is limited to stock on hand and at present there are only about 12 cases left. The Janasse Cote du Rhone happens to be a component of this month’s Dirty Dozen…just another way to check it out.

There are lots of good things happening at TWH, including the recent arrival of a container of wine from Italy! Va bene! We will be writing about them in the coming weeks, but from what I’ve gotten to taste thus far, I can honestly say that there are going to be some stellar wines. We’ve gotDavid back in France scouring the countryside for more discoveries,as well as visiting many of our favorite producers, like Fondreche andChateau d’Or et des Gueules, to check out what is coming down the road, or should I say, across the water. So far in his reports back to us, David is echoing Peter’s experience with the 2009 Bordeaux and what we learned with the cru Beaujolais, that 2009 is a terrific vintage, offering stunning wines in all price ranges and styles. The fruits of David’s labor in France now should hopefully come our way by late spring/early summer. —Anya Balistreri