The Friend Who Has Everything
I am a novice in the area of PN, but I try to find "deals." I have also noticed that while I can SORT OF make some generalizations about PNs from given areas, those pronouncements seem a lot less solid with PN than any other widely used grapes. That said I have found two from other areas that were well under your $30 price point but mighty fine: Cambria St. Julia's Vineyard and Benton Lane...neither Russian River but both very tasty and under $20 but without the "cheap pinot" one dimensional character, at least to me.
I have been on their mailing list for so long, in spite of the fact that I've never actually bought, but I hear and read good things about their wines.
Here it is:
Siduri RRV Pinot Noir.
I looked up winesearcher and saw that recent vintages are available in the mid to upper $20s