Imagine hopping on a shuttle bus to an “undetermined location” in Sonoma wine country. What’s the worst that could happen? Nothing, it turns out! Me and about 30 of my fellow Wine Bloggers Conference attendees ended up at Thomas George Estates in the Russian River Valley. It was already nightfall, so we did not get to see the sprawling vineyards onsite, as it was already dark. We exited the bus and were immediately whisked into the wine cave/tasting room and greeted with a glass of bubbly and some charcuterie. Not bad!
This property originally belonged to Davis Bynum, a legend in Russian River Pinot. The Baker family purchased the land and winery from Bynum and founded Thomas George Estates in 2008. Since then they have acquired other vineyards and now maintain close to 100 acres of vines! All wines that Thomas George produces are estate and they focus on site-specific Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. In addition, they also grow: Grenache, Zinfandel, and Viognier.
My wine friends and I arrived and enjoyed the reception in the beautiful cave setting. The bubbly was a hit, and the nibbles were delectable.
We then headed to the gorgeous and dramatically lit table for dinner. The full menu, including wine pairings, is below. It was a great meal, wonderful people, and will be remembered!
Black Pig Salumi & Antipasti
House-made cured meats, roasted & marinated vegetables, crostini
2014 Brut Blanc de Blancs, Starr Ridge Vineyard, “Cooper Block” 14.2% ABV, $50
Oh boy is this wine good. Crisp green apple, brioche/toast, lees aging detectable. Bitter almond on the finish.
Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad
Black pig bacon, Asian Pear, Marcona Almonds, Aged Sherry Vinegar, Bohemian Creamery “Capriago”
2015 Chardonnay, Sons & Daughters Vineyard 13.9% ABV $35
No malo and no oak. The wine was aged sur lie in both stainless steel tank and concrete egg. This is a ripe Chardonnay with notes of citrus, stone fruit, and tropical fruit. Great acid makes this a nice everyday Chardonnay.
Cracklin’ Pork Belly + Star Anise Liberty Duck
Black Rice, TGE Estate-Grown Pomegranate, Watercress
2014 Pinot Noir, Baker Ridge Vineyard 14% ABV $70
This wine paired famously with the pork belly and duck. Aromas of red and blue fruit plus floral violet notes. On the palate, strong acid with red/blue fruit, violet and earthy notes.
Backyard Quince & Apple Tartin, Bourbon Gelato
2012 Late Harvest Viognier, Baker Ridge Vineyard “Baby Block” 17% ABV $35
Divine. Just divine.