Uncommonly elegant, classically Californian

Explore Hamel Zinfandels for the spring and summer season.

2016 Sonoma Valley Zinfandel

After a warm winter, the 2016 growing season started with an early bud break in a similar pattern to the three preceding years. The amount of rainfall in the winter and spring however, was well above what came down in recent years. Between November 2015 and April 2016, we received an average annual rainfall amount of 30 inches. This led to a vigorous spring and summer in the vineyards. After experiencing several heat waves early in the summer, the heat during the month of August and the first half of September was more moderate, allowing for even and extended berry maturity and ripening. Several heat spikes in the latter half of September propelled a very concentrated and intense harvest period with the majority of our grapes coming in within a three-week span.

A clear red garnet hue in the glass, this wine presents a complex nose of blackberry and plum over notes of black peppercorn, sage, mint and crushed rock. A concentration of sweet fruit underlain by spice and minerality extend onto the palate. The richness and intensity of the fruit will appeal to those who open this wine within a couple of years, and it will continue to gain complexity for those with patience over the next six years.

2017 Sonoma Valley Zinfandel

2017 began with a very wet winter and spring. Bud break started at the end of March, and the spring’s rains allowed for healthy canopy growth. The vines thrived in early June with the switch to warmer, drier conditions. The weather progressed to a pattern of frequent heat spikes through July, August and into Labor Day. It was the hottest summer we have recorded. Harvest began in late August, with the core occurring in late September and early October. 2017 will be defined by lush, bright fruit with ripe tannins and ample acidity. We were fortunate to harvest prior to the wildfires that began October 8th.

Medium-dark ruby hued in the glass, this wine presents aromatic suggestions of dark cherry, rose petals, earth and game on the nose, with a thin herbal edge of sage and fennel. More dark red fruits emerge on the palate offering an interplay of floral and spice tones like violets, lavender, nutmeg and black peppercorn. This wine is charming, with firm yet refined tannin that yields to a distinct freshness and juiciness.

2018 Sonoma Valley Zinfandel

The 2018 winter was warmer and drier than average with only eight inches of rain before a wetter March and April that added an additional eight inches, normalizing vine vigor. Though spring and summer were cooler than recently experienced, the seasons aligned with average temperatures from the past twenty years. Continuing our transition to dry farming, we farmed 75% of our vineyards without a single irrigation. The gentle accumulation of heat through the summer led to an extended season, allowing the grapes to fully ripen with lots of phenolic complexity and maturation. A benevolent fall weather pattern allowed us to pick at optimal ripeness, yielding wines of elegant and precocious potential.

A deep ruby robe in the glass, this wine’s aromas display red and black fruits and floral notes of lavender and rose petal over a background of graphite, black peppercorn and forest floor. The structure is finely layered with good amplitude and vitality towards the middle of the palate and a complex finish where pure dark fruit and savory spice notes emerge. The wine is alluring and accessible upon release, but will additionally gain complexity over the next seven years.

2019 Sonoma Valley Zinfandel

The 2019 vintage began with steady precipitation throughout the winter months, with a record of eighteen inches of rainfall occurring in February. On top of the wet conditions, cooler weather in February and March caused a later start to the growing season in April. An additional four inches of rain in May created healthy and strong vigor and growth in the vines through the end of July. The wet conditions of the spring were followed by a dry summer culminating with a warm August, allowing for optimal ripening conditions following veraison. With the abundant winter and spring rainfall and our dedication to farming without irrigation, we were able to dry farm 75% of our vineyards in 2019. The warm and dry conditions allowed the grapes to fully ripen by the time of harvest. The 2019 wines will be defined by purity of fruit and bright freshness.

Displaying a ruby robe in the glass, detailed and complex aromas emerge of raspberry, red cherry and spiced orange peel accentuated by floral, flint and spice tones. Full of character and nuance, the palate is composed and delineated with fresh and ripe red fruits layered with savory, spice and mineral notes.

2020 Sonoma Valley Zinfandel

The 2020 vintage began with substantial rainfall in December of 2019, which re-filled our soil’s water table and allowed for beneficial mineralization of nutrients throughout the early part of winter. Below average rainfall in the first quarter of 2020, combined with above average temperatures, led to an early budbreak across our four estate vineyards. The last rains in May left us with only close to half of our typical annual rainfall for the season. Apart from March, each month of the growing season was warmer than our average, which led to a hastened season that resulted in smaller canopies and an accelerated ripening pace following an early and uniform veraison. 

Despite the low rainfall, and the historically warm spring, summer and fall, we were able to dry farm 68% of our vineyards. The dry and warm year yielded smaller berries showing a high degree of intensity and concentration. This allowed for our earliest harvest dates on record beginning on August 14th and finishing on September 22nd. There were two significant heat waves through our picking period – the first in the middle of August and the second around Labor Day – that impacted the cadence and intensity of our harvest. 

The earlier heatwave precipitated the lightning storm that sparked the LNU fire complex on August 17 in remote areas of eastern Napa, the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. We undertook a series of grape sampling and micro-fermentations to understand our risk and were fortunate to not find our crop impacted by these early fires. We fortunately completed our harvest prior to the Glass Fire that began on September 27, which would have posed a more direct risk to our vineyards and crop due to its proximity.

A dark ruby hue, the nose presents a medley of fresh raspberry, wild black bramble berry, bergamot rind, cola and Asian spice. Showcasing a focused expression of fruit purity and delicacy, the entry on the palate builds with a focus of ripe red and black fruits towards a refreshing finish. The wine’s profile centers on drinkability and is accessible now, but can be enjoyed over the next five years.  

2021 Sonoma Valley Zinfandel

2021 was the second dry growing season in a sequence of historic drought years that began in 2020. Fortunately, our vineyards were on their fifth year of transition to dry farming, and the vines responded well to the drought conditions, achieving balanced growth and yielding a high-quality crop. This endurance was the result of the water deficit tolerance developed through dry farming in the previous years. We received 12 to 14 inches of total rain between Hamel Family Ranch and Nuns Canyon Vineyard — less than half of what we typically receive — with peak precipitation occurring in December 2020 and March 2021. After a cooler than average spring, the summer and the end of the season delivered normal warm and dry conditions. We began harvest with Sauvignon Blanc at Tres Palmas Vineyard on August 19th, and the harvest of the red grapes commenced on August 30th at Hamel Family Ranch and August 31st at Nuns Canyon Vineyard. Harvest was very compressed for the red varieties and ended on September 20th, marking the earliest finish to harvest we have on record.  With a smaller crop load reflecting the conditions of the 2021 season, we found the wines to be characterized by balanced fruit, tremendous natural intensity, and power. Despite the historic drought conditions, we were able to dry-farm 74% of our total vineyards through the season. 

A dark ruby hue, the 2021 Zinfandel displays aromas of ripe dark cherry, boysenberry, plum, and bergamot with notes of garrigue and incense. The wine is drinkable and accessible today, but can be enjoyed over the next five years.

At Hamel Family Wines, we strive to make great wine and to have fun doing so. We value quality over quantity, enjoyment over tedium and fostering long-term recurring relationships with our guests.