I really get excited every time I open a top-producer Oregon Pinot Noir. I get equally excited, like I did a week ago, opening something new like my first Amarone from Italy.

I get just as excited when I find a really good wine under $10 – and that one doesn’t happen as often as the prior two examples.

But $9 wine represents what most Americans are buying and looking for in wine shops. Last night I opened Montebuena 2009 Rioja. It’s 100 percent Tempranillo with nice fruit, nice balance, not a ton of finish, but about as good a bottle of $9 wine as you’re going to find any where.

Getting good European wine under $10 is always a challenge and this is one you should seek out.

And I’m not the only one who liked it, if that matters. Robert Parker gave this great value juice 90 points!

Was it as good as Creta Roble at $12, no it wasn’t. But it wasn’t far off.

I bought this bottle at Zionsville’s great wine shop – Grape Vine Cottage for $8.99.

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