‘It’s hard to pick out one wine from the Elemental Bob line up, such is the sustained brilliance of the winemaking here.’ – Tim Atkin MW, Special South Africa Report 2017
5 years ago, the softly spoken Craig Sheard, aka Elemental Bob, was hailed by The Drinks Business magazine as one of South Africa’s Top 10 winemakers to watch* and his esoteric range has continued to garner praise and accolades. We met up with Craig back in 2017 (see blog post here) and, although his unconventional approach led to one or two raised eyebrows (surrounding his barrels with crystals was a first for me) the quality of his wine-making – or anti wine-making as his mate Wade describes it – is beyond doubt.
Those familiar with the South African industry will be all too well aware of the importance of the annual Platter Guide – a who’s who of the industry and, most importantly, a 5 star rating system covering thousands of the country’s wines. In his short career flying solo, Craig has already picked up 2 coveted 5 star awards and a fistful of 4½ stars. I’m tempted to suggest that I should love to see what he could come up with given the resources of some of the bigger players for whom investment capital never seems an issue but I fear that he’d wind up losing the character that sets him apart.
If you haven’t yet experienced the world of Elemental Bob, this pre-shipment offer is the perfect opportunity. We shall be placing an order by the middle of July which should arrive end September/early October. The more we can order, the lower the shipping costs added to which, Craig has reduced prices to reflect the critical state of the market in South Africa. The wines might fly slightly in the face of convention but there will never be a better time to try them.
Rules of engagement
No advance payment required, just a commitment to take the wines on arrival.
Minimum order 6 bottles which can be mixed.
Order by telephone 0121 227 6940 or email: email@example.com this offer is not available online.
Buy 6 Buy 12
Cosmic Hand White Blend 2015 £14.50 £13.75
Platter 4.5* Tim Atkin 91/100
COSMIC HAND 2015 WHITE wine blend - 18 barrels
Viognier (Durbanville & Elgin) 34% : Chenin Blanc (Durbanville) 29% Verdelho (Bot river) 20% : Semillon (upper Hemel -en-Aarde Valley) 17%
‘A complex nose of citrus, apple, peach and apricot as well as hay and spice plus a not unpleasant note of reduction Extremely flavourful on the palate Not too lean or too thick in texture and possessing lovely freshness – a real succulence upfront before a nice pithy quality to the finish’ - winemag 2016.
Retro Series White Blend 2016 £12.90 £12.25 previously £17.60
Platter 4.5* Tim Atkin 93/100
RETRO SERIES WHITE 2016
Chenin Blanc 44% : Semillon 22% : Viognier 18% : Roussanne 11% ; Verdelho 5%,
3 days skin ferment, at 20 balling, pressed to old French barrel with lees, to finish alcoholic and mlf ferment. 10 months maturation, No fining.
Retro Series Chenin Blanc 2016 £12.90 £12.25 previously £17.60
Platter 4* Tim Atkin 94/100
RETRO SERIES 2016 CHENIN BLANC
W.O. Western Cape (Darling, Wellington & Durbanville) Spontaneous fermentation, 3 days skin ferment, at 18 balling, pressed to old French barrel with lees, to finish alcoholic and mlf ferment. 10 months maturation, No fining.
Cosmic Flower Tinta Barocca 2017 £16.35 £15.50
Platter 5* Tim Atkin 93/100
The Graveyard Tinta Barocca
“Platter 2019 Wine of the Year” 43 year old vines Stellenbosch. Lithe & fiesty, animated Pot-porri & orange zest bouquet with sweet baking dust spicie.
Cosmic Flower Chardonnay 2017 £16.35 £15.50
Platter 4* Tim Atkin 94/100
Rest Your Head Chardonnay
33 year old vines. Toasty and nutty, rich with broad mid pallet. Abundant white and yellow fruit.
Cosmic Flower Chenin Blanc My Darling 2017 £16.35 £15.50
Platter 4* Tim Atkin 92/100
My Darling Chenin Blanc
35 Year Old vines Darling. Fruit filled, generous yellow cling peaches & tangerine, fresh orange, serious and well rounded.
Cosmic Hand Cinsaut 2017 £14.50 £13.75
Platter 4* Tim Atkin 90/100
Prices are per bottle including VAT
W.O. Stellenbosch. 25 year old bush vines. Energetic & savoury Not over complicated. Red fruits and dry round finish .
*Adding a South African accent to the natural wine movement is Craig Sheard, better known to his friends and followers as Elemental Bob.
After tinkering away with his own project for a decade while holding down a day job with other wineries, 2015 is the first vintage where quantities have been big enough – 17 barrels of white and 10 of red – to justify exploring export markets.
This expansion has been aided by the steady development of a more receptive audience for this type of minimal intervention winemaking. “Ten years ago people didn’t really understand what I was doing,” recalls Sheard. “But then they wanted to understand where their food came from and now it’s the same for wine.”
“I want my wines to show a bit of soul,” muses the softly spoken Sheard, who is not averse to trying his hand at creating Madeira-style wines using an incubator or drying grapes on his roof. “I don’t want clinical wines, but I don’t want faulty wines either.”
With only small quantities produced and variable availability of certain vineyards, don’t expect to be able to track down the same wine every vintage. Looking ahead, Sheard outlines plans for a slightly different approach, saying: “Eventually when I find the right place I want to make single vineyard wines – but a little left-field.”
Article published 24 September 2015 on http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2015/09/10-cape-winemakers-to-watch/6/