BK Wines is Brendon and Kirsty Keys. BK Wines is a brand to watch, Brendon a winemaker whose star is rising.
Pre-conception is a funny thing. Look at this photo on the left, when I first came across this photo from this article, all I saw were the tattoos.
I've written some posts about Brendon's wines before on this blog, titled 'Hand Made' and 'Still Hand Made'. The tattoos were just a prop, the lack of them on the winemaker when I first met him somewhat disarming.
I've met Brendon over a few tastings, would consider him a mate - in so far as my yardstick for application of such a term is: "would I or have I had a beer with this person?" - yet trust in my judgement enough to know that it's not just mateship that has me compelled to write about his wines.
A Bit of History
Beyond the label 'winemaker' Brendon is a Dad, a DJ, previously a Chef. Born across the ditch, a love of "bright, spicy Shiraz" brought Brendon to work vintage in McLaren Vale with Wirra Wirra in 2003.
After getting a little disenchanted with big, high alcohol reds Brendon worked in California and from there was asked to oversee the set-up of a new winery in Argentina - the question begs, when are we to see a BK Wines Malbec? With Kirsty struggling to find work as a Nurse in Argentina the decision was made to move back to NZ, but a love for Australia and its reds lured them both back to Adelaide.
A Bit About the Wines
I may be guessing here, but Brendon's only philosophy appears to be "make the best wine possible, with the best fruit available". As every winemaker should, he drinks well, and from a broad 'church' of wines - yet without being bound by dogma. For want of a label, you might say 'new French' but that's now - and more about the future later.
BK Summer Series 2011 Rosé: hints of tangerine and cranberry, but forget the fruit it's really about the gorgeous texture and weight on the palate, beautiful crisp dryness.
BK Summer Series 2011 Pinot Grigio: "you have a glass of Grigio whilst you're looking for a wine to drink" quips BK. Typically fresh with hints of lemon/ lime pithyness.
BK Summer Series Nouveau Syrah 2011: No oak - resulting in a soft, rounded and fruity - slightly under-ripe raspberry - wine. The finish seeing a little spice, some white pepper. Damn enjoyable, a back deck kind of wine.
2011 One Ball Chardonnay: Yet another wine that gives a two fingered salute to the "2011's a shit vintage" brigade. Minerally, chablis-esque, porn-star length - if I may be so crude about such a thing of beauty.
Skin 'n' Bones 2011 Pinot Noir: 256 days on skins, maybe necessity being the mother of invention with this one? It's 100% whole berry, hand de-stemmed through the funnel. Bone dry, and tannic - lots of lovely drying tannin.
Gower 2011 Pinot Noir: 50 dozen made, good ripe tannin to boot, and oh such glorious lenght and staying power. 'Burgundian' if I may be as bold to make such a claim? One too much, this is from a new vineyard BK has secured access to.
What's to Come?
So whilst there may not be a Malbec in the immediate future, BK did speak of a Tannat, Gewurztraminer and Savagnin in the pipeline.
As for the latter of those varieties, it will be interesting to see from where inspiration is drawn. I pondered this as we sat drinking the wines of Jacques Puffeney from the Jura, including a very oxidatively handled Savagnin. I don't have the answer, that remains to be seen.
The BK brand is set to expand beyond the current 1200 cases. Certainly one to watch, a star on the rise; the confident, but unassuming, Brendon Keys a talent burning bright.
Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac