We're always on the lookout for great wines at the $40 and under price point, and Pinot Noir, with its continued popularity and finicky farming, is often hard to find at the caliber we want that economically. So it's all the more sad when we find one and then learn it's sold out for direct order. Still, the Thomas George Estates 2009 RRV Pinot is likely the remain on the wine lists of some great Bay Area restaurants (full list here), and any bottles still at retail are fair game, so it's worth looking for.
Thomas George Estates is run by the father-and-son team of Thomas and Jeremy Baker who want to make "world-class" wine, specifically Pinot Noir and Chardonnay -- although they also specialize in a variety of other varietals-- in the Russian River Valley. The 2009 Thomas George Estates Pinot Noir, Estate Wine, Russian River Valley is a blend of their three estate vineyards: Cresta Ridge, Baker Ridge, and Starr Ridge and in their words, " an incredible example of the epic 2009 Russian River Valley vintage." In our words:
2009 Thomas George Estates Pinot Noir, Estate Wine, Russian River Valley
Starts off with a big burst of fruit, then pulls back a bit, letting the acidity creep out from under the curtain and leaving you with a bit of uncertainty as to whether the pure pleasure you started with was an illusion, but then the acid recedes like crab skittering back to cover, and the fruit washes over again like a gentle wave and your smile returns. Pleasant, fruit forward and enough balance and complexity that when you serve your friends they won't go all pinot snob on you and start arguing the betterness of Burgundy, unless they are doing so against a worthy opponent from the "other (CA) side of the debate. Drinks soft and low (alchol) though when we checked the label it said 14.3.