An Australian Wine Blog

This Wine Blog

This Australian wine blog was formerly known as

I'm a wine drinker, and this blog is about wine, not just Australian wine.

If you wish to contact me, please do so here.
All content of this Australian Wine Blog © Stuart Robinson - The Vinsomniac. Powered by Blogger.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Brendon Keys: BK Wines

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.


  1. I love his wines and think it is great that he is heading over to Jura to do a vintage so he can better understand how to make this style of wines here.

    1. Hey Josh, thanks for swinging by. It will be really interesting to see the influence that this overseas experience has on the future output.