The Big Kahuna Chardonnay NV

Extremely pale, flaxen color with an obviously watery rim. Slight aromas of pear and fresh sugar cane combined with a slight dustiness on the nose. In the mouth, medium bodied with slight residual sugar and a taste reminiscent of pineapple Jell-O, but with an attractive flatness there that is a subtle compliment to the bright tropical fruit (oak chips?). Thankfully, there’s a decent level of acidity that makes the slightly sweet finish more than acceptable.

Drink this puppy with spicy Asian noodle dishes or maybe even mole poblano – the sweetness and acidity should stand up just fine to any culinary onslaught you can think of.

The Big Kahuna (but really fresh&easy)
Price: US $1.98
Closure: Stelvin
Date tasted: November 2007

Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, entered the US market last week with the opening of their fresh&easy stores in southern California. The Big Kahuna is their low end entry-level wine brand, produced in Australia. It competes with Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw line, better known as Two Buck Chuck. The differences? The Big Kahuna is packaged in attractive bottles with well-printed labels and high quality screwcaps (as opposed to shabby, trailer park-appropriate bottles with low quality corks). Plus, what’s in the bottle could easily pass for [yellow tail] at a third the price. It’s well considered, decent quality wine that isn’t at all disappointing considering the price.

Most importantly, this wine strikes me as being right on target when it comes to American consumers’ taste preferences. It’s attractively packaged, keenly priced, and has enough residual sugar to keep its audience’s interest. My only complaint would be that it’s not an American wine – surely Tesco could source this sort of thing locally instead of hauling it up here from the Southern Hemisphere?

7 thoughts on “The Big Kahuna Chardonnay NV

  1. That is astonishingly cheap. It sounds like fresh&easy are onto a winner with these wines, both stylistically and in terms of price point.

    The interesting question for me is – at this end of the market, what is actually important to buyers? Is it taste, packaging, brand recognition?

  2. I drink a lot of inexpensive wines, and as a representative of the consumers, taste matters.

    This wine (and the companion Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz blend) was really bad. I won’t buy it again.

  3. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “really bad.” I’ll leave that for horrible, horrible stuff like Franzia Refreshing White. Was this good wine? Not especially, but for two bucks I’d be willing to put up with it.

  4. It gets you where you want to be, for a very nice price. My “Fresh and Easy” charged $2.99, not $1.99. That we review a wine priced below 3 dollars, is astonishing. Just what do you expect, you “wine” snobs? $2.99 will get you a $2.99 bottle of wine.

  5. Or even a $1.99 bottle of wine if you’re in California, true. Some $1.99 wine is better than others, though – I thought this was better than the then-current Charles Shaw at Trader Joe’s, but that changes so often I’m never sure what it’s going to taste like!

  6. I love this wine. The fact that it is an un-oaked chardonnay is what appealls to my taste buds. The only problem is it seems that it is not available in BC Canada

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