New releases from BK Wines, a star producer in the Adelaide Hills


Brendon and Kirstyn Keys are the B and K in BK Wines, and they are based in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia. They are a winery I’ve been following for a few years and their model is to work with a network of growers in the region who have great sites that in the past haven’t always been used to make great wines. ‘I have five growers and I love them all,’ says Brendon. ‘So many growers are downtrodden. They have been beaten up by large companies, so they are no longer open to new ideas. I use the same growers every year so they know what we are about.’

Brendon is a skateboard nut, and has his own skateboard park in his garden. In terms of winemaking, things are pretty natural, although these don’t claim to be natural wines. Brendon works a lot with concrete eggs. ‘I like what oak does to the fermentation, but you always get some oak flavour out,’ he told me when I visited a few years ago. ‘We purchased an egg and it has done what we want to do. You still get the purity of the wine but you get fullness, richness and roundness.’ He’s tried both the Nomblot (France) and Sonoma Cast Stone (California). The latter he says is better looking but he gets similar, but slightly different results from both.

Brendon Keys, BK Wines

Brendon also bottles some of the wines early, in December following the vintage. ‘Wines that go through a summer in the winery always need more SO2. They displace CO2 and when they cool down they take up oxygen and display aldehyde. This way we get to bottle with better free to total SO2 ratio. I’m not anti-SO2, but there’s a lot of lazy SO2 use in wineries.’


BK Wines The Fall Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2022 Carey Gully, Adelaide Hills, Australia
12.5% alcohol. Minimal sulfites added. Linear, taut, bright and lemony with subtle mealy detail and also a hint of salinity. This is a beautiful, delicate, naturally made early-picked Chardonnay that still has plenty of flavour, along with a fine texture and subtle hints of meal and yeast. Juicy, linear and focused, this reminds me of some of the natural Jura Chardonnays in terms of its precision and focus. Such a beautiful wine. 95/100

BK Wines Swaby Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2022 Piccadilly Valley, Adelaide Hills, Australia
12.5% alcohol. 8 months in oak (25% new), unfiltered and unfined. Wonderfully aromatic, with mandarin, pear and lime on the nose as well as a whiff of oyster shell. In the mouth this shows lovely balance, with pure, restrained lemony fruit, some lovely taut texture, but also well integrated acidity. Very fine and pure, with fine spices and a tapering finish. So expressive and fine. 95/100

BK Wines Yandra Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2022 Lenswood, Adelaide Hills, Australia
12.5% alcohol. Some ripeness here on the nose, showing pear and white peach as well as honey and a touch of table grape. In the mouth, this balances the richer, grapey fruity notes with ripe citrus and pear, finishing with a slight steely minerality that keeps everything in focus. A lovely Chardonnay, showing some richness, but also keeping everything balanced. 94/100

BK Wines Gin Gin Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2022 Piccadilly Valley, Adelaide Hillls, Australia
Very fine aromatics of citrus, meal, chalk and ripe pear. There’s an appealing chalky, mineral dimension as well as sweet pear and citrus fruit. Fresh lemon and lime with chalk and spice. Supple with some saline hints. Very fine and pure, and quite Jura-like. 95/100

BK Wines Ma Fleur Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2008 Piccadilly Valley, Adelaide Hills, Australia
This is a new barrel that got moved to the back of the cellar, and eventually forgotten about, growing a layer of flor. Recently bottled, it’s a remarkable wine. Full gold in colour. Has a salty pear, apple and lemon nose with a tangy flor-like quality. So much depth and complexity on the palate which is rich and bold but still very fresh, showing a saline backbone and crystalline citrus fruits, as well as some ripe apple and orange peel. There are even notes of pastry, coffee bean, bread and grapefruit. 96/100

BK Wines Gower Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2022 Lenswood, Adelaide Hills, Australia
12% alcohol. This is such an interesting Pinot Noir, with a bit of spicy lift on the nose, and then a palate showing sleek, sweet cherry and plum fruit with supple green hints and lovely texture and mouthfeel. There’s a richness and sweetness to the fruit, but also a freshness, with hints of tar, black tea, cinnamon and pepper adding savoury notes, and appropriate structure. It’s remarkable that this is just 12% alcohol because there’s a lot of flavour. 93/100

Older note from 2018:

BK Wines Skin n’Bones Skin Contact White Savagnin 2016 Adelaide Hills, Australia
11.8% alcohol. This is really interesting. It’s a well behaved skin contact wine: lovely linear, textured citrus fruit with hint of pear. There’s a faint hint of mint, too. Has some spicy, white pepper bite under the fruit, and a long, linear finish, with a bit of lemon pith. This is really beautifully made. So balanced. 93/100

Older notes from 2016:

BK Wines Petillant Naturel Chardonnay 2016 Adelaide Hills, Australia
This Pet Nat is undisgorged, so it’s quite cloudy when you open it. It’s sweet, textural and shows lovely pear and peach fruit with a hint of spiciness. It has quite a smooth texture and is broad, off-dry and delicious. So easy to drink, this is a very successful expression of this style that’s often tricky to do well. 89/100

BK Wines Pinot Grigio 2016 Adelaide Hills, Australia
Fresh with lovely tangerine and grape fruit characters, as well as some subtle herby detail. There’s some substance to this wine. It’s dry, but it has a bit of texture and some complexity, too. 90/100

BK Wines Archer Beau Chardonnay 2015 Adelaide Hills, Australia
Super-complex, linear and taut with lovely mineral notes and well integrated, high-quality oak. Fine matchstick notes add interest with hints of pepper alongside the linear citrus fruit. Bright, precise, lemony and pure, this is superb and should develop very well. 94/100

BK Wines Rosé 2016 Lenswood, Adelaide Hills, Australia
Fresh, lively and bright with nice sweet cherry, plum and rhubarb notes. Supple and delicious with nice strawberry and cherry fruit, and good texture. 90/100

BK Wines Mazi Whole Bunch Syrah 2014 Adelaide Hills, Australia
Hints of mint here, with nice fresh black fruits and some subtle hints of tar. Very detailed with a savoury edge. There’s such good structure here: a really interesting Syrah with massive potential. 93/100

BK Wines Remy Pinot Noir 2015 Lenswood, Adelaide Hills
Sweetly aromatic cherry fruit nose leads to a beautifully supple palate. It’s juicy and fresh with fine herbiness and some citrus fruit. Elegant and textural with hints of pepper and a fine green note adding definition. 94/100

BK Wines Pet Nat 2016 Adelaide Hills, Australia
‘It’s kind of cross your fingers a little bit,’ says Brendon, concerning making Pet Nat, which requires bottling the wine while it’s still fermenting. It’s textured and lively with some sweetness. Nicely complex too. 90/100

BK Wines Ovum Pinot Gris 2015 Adelaide Hills, Australia
This is made in a concrete egg, and its one of the autumn releases. Bit of press wine. Textured with nice weight and fine pear fruit. Lively with some fine spiciness. Very attractive. 92/100

BK Wines One Ball Chardonnay 2015 Adelaide Hills, Australia
Fresh, tight and lemony with some pear notes. Subtle with a bit of apple. Textural with lovely mineral hints. Very pure and attractive. 93/100

BK Wines Swaby Chardonnay 2013 Adelaide Hills, Australia
Bernie Swaby is a grower. Very mineral and taut with lovely apple and pear fruit, as well as fine citrus. Generous with an appealing mineral, reductive core. Delicious. 95/100

BK Wines Skin ‘n’ Bones Pinot Noir 2015 Adelaide Hills, Australia
Beautifully aromatic with fine red cherries. Textural and juicy with a bit of meatiness. Elegant, fine floral aromatics. Good acidity. Fine and expressive with some herbal notes. 94/10

BK Wines Gower Pinot Noir 2014 Adelaide Hills, Australia
Beautifully aromatic and textural with fine sappy notes and sweet cherries and plums. This wine has lovely density with a core of rich but balanced fruit and a lively, juicy finish. Tight and delicious. 95/100

BK Wines Cult Syrah 2013 Adelaide Hills, Australia
Deep coloured and brooding with rich black cherry and blackberry fruit. Lovely richness and intensity. Brooding, powerful, vivid and floral. Rich yet fresh. 93/100

BK Wines Mazi Syrah 2013 McLaren Vale, Australia
From Blewett Springs. 100% whole bunch. Fresh and lively with some meaty black cherries and blackberries. Sweet, a bit spicy and vivid with some peppery notes. Rich but balanced. Lovely. 93/100

BK Wines Springs Hill 2015 McLaren Vale, Australia
70% Mourvedre, 20% Syrah, 10% Grenache. 100% whole bunch. Amazing perfumed black fruits. Peppery and a bit reductive. Spicy, lively palate with a bit of CO2. Intense, meaty and floral with so many layers. Juicy, distinctive and fresh. 95/100

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