2002 Hamel Syrah “Westside Hills”

58% Dry Creek Valley, 42% Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, CA; 14.5% ABV
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store 11 Nov

2002_Hamel_Syrah_WestsideHillsI was immediately attracted to this wine by the nice label and moderate price.  It had a fair amount of sediment, which I let settle over a week.  The wine still looked a little murky, so I’d guess more sediment would settle if you gave it longer.  I then decanted it off what sediment had settled.  However, my wife apparently drank the dregs without realizing what they were, so the sediment may not be that bad.  🙂

The wine is pretty tasty from first pour, with complex medium red fruits, but is a little light and fruit-punchy.  After about an hour of air, it darkens greatly to show flavors of dark purple cherry / plum, blueberry, roasted meat, dark spice, rosemary / sage, and sappy oak, with moderate tannins.  Although the fruit is ripe, the wine is not jammy or syrupy (making it more to my taste), and there is nicely balancing acid of black raspberry and strawberry.  In the finish, there is a tiny bit of flavor that makes me think you should drink this right away, but even so, this is very good wine for the money.


7 thoughts on “2002 Hamel Syrah “Westside Hills”

  1. Klmsanta

    I think it’s an excellent full bodied Syrah especially for the price. Found in Santa Rosa store. Nice to see some of the nicer wines making it this far north.

  2. palfrey12

    Agree with everything in the review. Had a bottle from Marina CA store. The wine should be drunk now; it is old school California approach to Syrah, but what a rarity to find a fully mature red from Sonoma’s finest areas for $5.99. I saw some iffy comments elsewhere on the Hamel 2005, this is 2002 and definitely worth a poor man’s pour.

  3. Seedboy

    It seemed to me that in this wine the sediment was mostly tartrate crystals that clung to the inside of the neck under the cork, and onto the bottom of the cork itself. When I see that I generally stick my little finger into the neck and scoop all of that out, if you decant without doing that, all of it will end up in your decanter.

    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Yes, thank you for remembering the crystals adhering to the cork. I also stuck my finger in and scooped out the crystals on the inside of the neck. 🙂 Although, as far as stuff in my decanter goes, I’m less worried about crystals like that and more about fine silt which won’t settle in the bottom of my glass and, especially in older Syrahs, can taste pretty bad.


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