For the second year in a row, an Arizona wine made SF Gate's list of the top wines of the year. This year the recognition goes to the 2012 Sand-Reckoner Malvasia Bianca, which comes from Rob Hammelman in Cochise County.
If you've been paying close attention you will have already heard of this particular wine. Our vino expert included it in his list of 5 Arizona Wines to Give a Skeptic back in November.
See also: 5 Arizona Wines to Give a Skeptic
But that's not the only reason we weren't completely surprised by the inclusion of this particular label in this year's list. If you recall, the San Francisco Chronicle's wine critic Jon Bonné also wrote an article "Arizona takes aim at wine's big leagues" last year, which featured a number of Arizona winemakers, including Sand-Reckoner Vineyards' Rob and Sarah Hammelman.
For our second year with Arizona wine in the Top 100, we turn to Rob Hammelman, who made wine with St. Cosme's Louis Barruol in the Rhone before settling with his wife, Sarah, in Willcox. This aromatic grape could be Arizona's great hope, certainly based on Sand-Reckoner's efforts. A day soaking on skins and fermentation in old barrels provides the seriousness found in great dry Alsatian Muscat: intense blossom aromas, plus a chaparral-like woodsy side, rose petal and dried pear. It's densely flavored and bone-dry, full of rich orange and ripe tree fruit flavors.
Last year, the list included the 2009 Dos Cabezas El Campo Pronghorn Vineyard Sonoita Red, made in Soniota by winemaker Todd Bostock. Bonné called the wine "a game-changer for our neighbor to the east."