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Goon Reviews

Time and again it has been shown that Fruity Lexia does indeed make you sexier. But how do different goon bags taste?

Golden Oak’s alluringly mysterious wine “Fruity White”

Golden Oak Fruity White

General info: Golden Oak Fruity White, 4L cask, 9.5% abv., $12.99

Brief history: Lexia is in fact the name of a grape that is otherwise known as Muscat of Alexandria. That makes it the cousin of the grapes that go into Australian Rutherglen Muscat (some of the best fortified wines in the world), that make up portions of Spain’s famous sherries, and also make sparkling Moscato. 

The fact that the name has changed just to Fruity White suggested that the wine is now a blend, but as Golden Oak don’t have a website it is impossible to find out what that might be.

Tasting notes: The colour is a pale lemon yellow. The nose is surprising, with notes of lemon balm and the “grapey” characteristic that is famous with the Lexia varietal. The body is where the wine is let down a little. The acidity is non-existent, which means that the off-dry sweetness overpowers the palate. Similar to the nose, the palate shows lemon drop flavours. 

Food match: Chilli garlic and white wine mussels with crusty bread, or a handful of shredded cheese straight from the bag.

Cellaring potential: No


  • Drinking: 5/10
  • Cooking: 8/10
  • Sleeping: weak and flimsy bag, 3/10
  • I do certainly feel sexier after half a glass, so with 4L I should be a supermodel by the end of the weekend.
The Stubborn Few’s Pinot Gris – a wine that overstays its welcome on the palate

The Stubborn Few Pinot Gris

General info: The Stubborn Few Pinot Gris, 2L cask, 12% abv., $9

Brief history: A question I get a lot as someone who has spent a while in the wine industry is “what is the difference between Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris?’”The answer depends on how technical you want to get, but on a base level, there is none. The grape is the same, Gris being the French name and Grigio the Italian one.

Stylistically, both nations have different ways of making the wine, and different climates that influence those decisions. Despite being further north, the region of Alsace in France is warmer, sheltered by the mountains, and produces richer and spicier wines that can retain a touch of residual sugar. The Grigio from Alto Aldige, a very cold region at the foot of the Alps in Italy, is famous for its lean, sharp acidity, and green fruit flavours. 

Grigio from Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Italy uses an entirely different clone of the same grape! The bigger berries result in less acid and softer flavours, making wines that are meant to be drunk young, fresh, and with food.

Tasting notes: The colour of the wine is a pale lemon yellow. The nose is faint, but shows notes of nashi pear, pink lady apples, and elderflower. The palate is a touch acidic, suggesting that the grapes were picked a touch before their optimal sugar content. It shows flavours of lime, and once more pear and elderflower. 

Food match: Moreton Bay bugs with Vietnamese dill sauce, or Mi Goreng.

Cellaring potential: No


  • Drinking: 2.5/10
  • Cooking: 6/10
  • Sleeping: small weak bag with a prominent nozzle, 2/10
  • Out of all the wines this might be my least favourite unfortunately. Writing this five minutes later I can still feel the tingle in my mouth from the high acid content.

Winesmith’s “Premium” Sav Blanc smells stinky (in a good way)

Winesmiths Premium Sauvignon Blanc

General info: Winesmiths Premium Sauvignon Blanc 2022, 2L cask, 10.5% abv., $13.99

Brief history: Sauv Blanc was one of the earliest grape varietals cultivated in France, where it has a long history. Originally it’s from Bordeaux, where it goes into the famous Sauternes dessert wines when the grapes are infected with Botrytis cinerea or noble rot. The most famous still examples from France are Sancerre, from the left bank of the Loire River, and Pouilly Fumé from the right bank.

Sauv Blanc is also well established in New Zealand, where the slightly warmer climate and ripening conditions result in wines with huge flavours of passionfruit on both the nose and the palate.

Tasting notes: Again the colour is a pale lemon yellow. Sauv Blanc is famously an aromatic varietal, so the nose shows strong notes of cut grass and green capsicum, typical of slightly underripe fruit. The body is well balanced, with passionfruit and a slight flintiness coming through. A good example of an Australian Sauvvy B.

Food match: Winter ceviche of kingfish and salmon, or boiled eggs with a pinch of curry powder.

Cellaring potential: No


  • Drinking: 6.5/10
  • Cooking: 6/10
  • Sleeping: strong bag, but on the smaller side and with a prominent tap, 5/10
  • Not the best wine I’ve ever tasted, but surprisingly much better than the wines my Aunty served up at the last family barbecue.
This “Lachlan Ridge” fella is a different Lachlan to the author of this article

Lachlan Ridge Chardonnay

General info: Lachlan Ridge Chardonnay, 2L cask, 13% abv., $7

Brief history: There is a famous type of wine consumer called an ABC: “anything but Chardonnay.” That’s unfortunate because good Chardonnay is beautiful, but completely understandable. 

In the 80’s and 90’s, oaked Chardonnay became the tipple of choice for many white wine drinkers. Traditionally speaking, oaking a Chardonnay means putting it in a French oak barrel so a secondary process called malolactic fermentation can occur, where malic acid is converted into lactic acid. This process lends the wine an almost creamy, buttery texture. 

Furthermore, winemakers might choose to bâtonnage the wine, which is the process of stirring up dead yeast cells that gather at the bottom of barrels back into the wine. The flavours this imparts are characteristically bready or nutty. 

Instead, hoping to get their wines to market quickly, winemakers started dunking their wines with giant bags filled with oak chips like they were making tea. The process is faster and cheaper, but results in wines the colour of cat piss and with the remarkable flavour of toothpicks. Cheap Chardonnay is really something else, and so I get why some drinkers might consider themselves ABC. 

Tasting notes: The wine is pale golden colour. The nose is surprisingly complex, showing primary notes of rockmelon and peach, but also slightly bready secondary notes. The palate is not as surprising. While the notes of peach and nectarine are very pleasant, the oak they have used imparts an acrid, ashy aftertaste, not dissimilar to the first plume of smoke you smell after striking a match. 

Food match: Boudin Blanc de Paris with leeks and mustard sauce, or a Woolies roast chook.

Cellaring potential: No


  • Drinking: 3.5/10
  • Cooking: 7/10
  • Sleeping: another small and flimsy bag, 2.5/10
  • I love Chardonnay, so when I taste things like this I feel like Marlon Brando in the Godfather: ‘Look how they massacred my boy.’
Berri Estates Dolce Rosso is a wine that pairs well with baked beans (?)

Berri Estates Dolce Rosso

General info: Berri Estates Dolce Rosso, 5L cask, 10.5% abv., $16.99

Brief history: Dolcetto is an Italian variety and the name translates to ‘little sweet one.’ It’s grown around Piedmont in the north-east of the country in regions that are more famous for Nebbiolo and Barbera. Dolcetto, with the high sugar and low acid content, doesn’t cellar, so the wines it produces are straight for the market.

They’re really light wines with beautiful red fruit flavours of black cherry and often licorice. The Italians tend to ferment the wine until they’re dry, and they go fantastically with any dish with tomato or eggplant.

Sometimes however some residual sugar is left in the wine and sweet tasty tipple is the type of thing your Grandparents might drink.

Tasting notes: The colour is a beautiful clear ruby. The nose is not all that prominent, but shows hints of black cherry and blackcurrants. The palate is that of a quintessential low acid, high sugar red wine, with notes of plum and again, blackcurrants, making it almost like Ribena. It can be served either at room temperature or chilled.

Food match: Slow cooked beef ragu tagliatelle, or baked beans.

Cellaring potential: No


  • Drinking: 7/10
  • Cooking: 9/10
  • Sleeping: solid size and strong bag, 8/10
  • I was so ready to be a snob about this wine, and it’s not great. With that said, it is solid enough and would be the perfect base for a Summer sangria with plenty of ice and fresh fruit.
Winesmiths Estates Shiraz is too good to hang on the Hills Hoist

Winesmiths Estates Shiraz

General info: Winesmiths Estates Shiraz 2021, 2L cask, 13.5% abv., $13.99

Brief history: Shiraz is yet another varietal that first made its name in France, where it’s known as Syrah. It is most famously cultivated in the Rhône Valley. In Northern Rhône they make wines that are either straight Shiraz or co-fermented with a small parcel of the white grape Viogner to produce incredibly aromatic, juicy wines. In the South, the grape is blended with Grenache and a bunch of other red varietals to make very tasty blends. As good as the wines are, they’ve always been overshadowed by the reds from Burgundy and Bordeaux.

Australia is where the grape really came into its own, especially in South Australia. With the warmer climate of the Barossa Valley and the McLaren Vale you get silky smooth wines with high alcohol and bold flavours of blackberries, violets, chocolate, and coffee. They’re much more powerful than the lighter, spicier French wines.

Tasting notes: The colour is a deep purple. The nose is ripe and fresh with red and black fruit, with distinct notes of blackberries and brambles. The body is well balanced, with smooth, well integrated tannins. The same dark fruit flavours abound in the palate, with blueberry prominent and some notes of white pepper coming from the slightly underripe fruit.

Food match: Ribeye steak frites with herb butter, or tinned tomato soup.

Cellaring potential: No


  • Drinking: 7.5/10
  • Cooking: 9/10
  • Sleeping: same bag as the Sauv Blanc, 5/10
  • I was surprised by the taste. It’s a pretty good mass market Shiraz considering.
Renmano Premium Ruby Tawny is a wine that comes in a bag

Renmano Premium Ruby Tawny

General info: Renmano Premium Ruby Tawny, 2L cask, 16.5% abv., $10.99

Brief history: Tawny is the name in Australia we have for Port, a fortified wine famously from the Douro Valley, Portugal. Australia has a long history of producing fortified wines but our early wine history involves stealing the names of more famous regions for the prestige, and for the sake of the undereducated wine drinkers we had at the time.

Australian Tawny is typically made from Shiraz unlike its Portuguese counterpart, which is made of a blend of grapes, most famously Touriga Nacional. A neutral spirit, usually brandy, is added to the ferment to kill the yeast when desired flavours have been attained. This leaves a high level of residual sugar and a high abv. 

Tawny is what my Grandfather used to drink, and I have a real soft spot in my heart for this style of wine. Being sweet, they’re often considered dessert wines, but for me they’re perfectly matched with sitting around a campfire in the bitter cold and talking shit.

Tasting notes: The colour is a brownish, brick red. You can already get notes of sweetness on the nose, with prominent sultana, dried fig and candied walnuts coming through. The palate is perhaps not as balanced as it should be, with a touch too much sugar even for a sweet wine. Once again those dried fruit flavours are prominent on the palate, with sultana the dominant flavour profile, underpinned by a rich warmth from the higher alcohol content.

Food match: Port poached pears with mascarpone, or a pouch of Champion Ruby and some papers.

Cellaring potential: No


  • Drinking: 4/10
  • Cooking: 10/10, but only for relevant desserts
  • Sleeping: weak bag, and too small being only 2L, 2/10
  • Good wine is about balance, and even in a sweet wine you need a strong acid backbone to achieve that. As much as I love tawny, without that balance the wine is just a little flabby.