‘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
One of our original Young Guns, Craig Sheard is known for marching to the beat of his own drum. He started making wines under the Elemental Bob label back in 2004 while still studying at Elsenburg. He epitomises experimental craftsmanship and is one of SA’s new-wave forerunners. In 2014, Craig quit his day job. This commitment to winemaking shows in his new releases which impress with their quality, intrigue and pure deliciousness.
The Elemental Bob Retro Series Red 2016, 80% Cinsaut with 20% Pinot Noir, is just brimming with all these elements. It’s interesting, individual and offers great value. Almost Rhône-like on the nose, this old vine Cinsaut, produced from mostly Helderberg fruit, is vibrant, bright and wonderfully crunchy. The moreish palate is medium-bodied with a moderate 12,8% alcohol. The 14 days of skin contact adds some gravitas to its structure. Drink now through to 2021.
In addition to the red above, the Retro Series comprises of 5 different bottlings. The White 2016 is a savoury, Chenin-based blend with splashes of Sémillon, Viognier, Verdelho and Roussanne. The low-alcohol Chenin Blanc 2016 is oxidative in style. The naturally-styled Grenache Blanc 2016 has a wonderfully saline undertow and is my pick of the whites. The other red in the Retro Series is the Pinot Noir 2016 which is made from Hemel-en-Aarde and Overberg fruit. Meaty, leaning towards the savoury side, it’s light and fresh with notes of delicate fruit and spice.
We are super excited to bring you the chance to deviate from the mainstream and plunge into these wonderful wines. Try the 5-bottle Retro Series experience pack below.
Elemental Bob, Retro Series White 2016 – R 155
44% Chenin Blanc, 22% Semillon, 18% Viognier, 11% Roussanne and 5% Verdelho. Fermented for three days on the skins before 10 months maturation in old oak. Pear, lemon, orange and peach plus some yeasty complexity on the nose. Light bodied with lovely fruit definition. Layers of flavour and a long, dry finish. – Christian Eedes, 93/100
Elemental Bob, Retro Series Chenin Blanc 2016 – R 155
Craig Sheard makes some of the most intriguing wines in South Africa, surrounding his barrels with crystals to ‘harness cosmic energy’. This low intervention, Chenin-based blend spent three days on its skins and has notes of bitters and baking spices, with food friendly tannins for a white. Drink: 2017-21. – Tim Atkin MW, 93/100
Elemental Bob, Retro Series Grenache Blanc 2016 – R 215
It’s hard to pick out one wine from the Elemental Bob line up, such is the sustained brilliance of the winemaking here, but this cuvée of Grenache Blanc with 15% Verdelho would be my pick. Subtle spice and umami flavours, with some skin tannins, lovely freshness and a dry, savoury finish. Remarkable, challenging winemaking of real bravery. Drink: 2017-23. – Tim Atkin MW, 95/100
Elemental Bob, Retro Series Red 2016 – R 155
Using the two parents of Pinotage – Cinsaut with 20% Pinot Noir – makes a lot of sense, given how well the grape has adapted to the Cape. Spicy, peppery and refined, this low alcohol, low intervention blend is stemmy and sweet, with lovely raspberry coulis notes. Drink: 2017-21. – Tim Atkin MW, 92/100
Elemental Bob, Retro Series Pinot Noir 2016 – R 215
Everything that Craig Sheard does is designed to push boundaries. This is more ‘normal’ that some of his whites, but it’s still a graceful, elegant, focused Pinot Noir, showing ethereal aromas and flavours of red cherry, pot pourri and a hint of clove spice. Drink: 2018-22. – Tim Atkin MW, 92/100