Adelaide Hills: The Elegance of Altitude

The Lay of the Land: The Adelaide Hills sit just southeast of the Barossa Valley, a wine region known for its hot continental climate and the ripe, powerful fruit it produces. The Hills, by contrast, are part of the Mount Lofty Ranges, which reach 2,385 feet at the highest peak. The fruit from these vineyards in the clouds makes for reds and whites that are subtle, graceful and light on their feet.

The Local Standout: Brendon Keys was a globe-trotting DJ and snowboarder before a wine sales job in London eventually led to a winemaking career that took him to New Zealand, California and finally the cool, elevated Lenswood pocket of the Adelaide Hills.

The Bottles to Buy: The fruit for BK Wines’ wildly fragrant Skin n’ Bones Pinot Noir ($60; is placed in barrels grape by grape and utilizes seriously extended skin contact—about 276 days for the 2012 vintage. The result is an unmistakable yet delicate aroma of fresh berries and a wine that’s downright gulpable. The single-vineyard 2012 Swaby Chardonnay ($60;, planted on Picadilly’s breezy hillsides, is clean, textured and focused.