This Chardonnay is pretty new to Fresh & Easy’s shelves. Now, at ~$14 this wine is not cheap by Fresh & Easy standards, but a comparable wine – that is to say, a Chardonnay from Sonoma’s Russian River Valley – would run you ~$20+ at Fry’s or Safeway. And that’s after the fake discount afforded by your store card. (FWIW: you'd do pretty well to pay ~$14 for a wine like this at a decent wine retailer). To my mind, you get more than your money’s worth with this bottle.
I’ll get this out of the way up front (or, rather, at midpoint): this is a yummy Chardonnay. To be sure, it's fashioned in the "California style," but in that respect it builds on strengths while eschewing weaknesses. It offers crisp Bosc pear and spiced honey on the nose and features pear, dried apricot, and honey on the palate, along with hints of clove and nutmeg. The finish is indeed sweetly oaky, but this wine is mainly about the delicious fruit and the very nice acidity that comes with it.
Now, about that oakiness. I’ve not jumped on to the “ABC” (“Anything But Chardonnay”) bandwagon mainly because I never jumped on the “NBC” ("Nothing But Chardonnay") bandwagon in the first place. In my experience, it’s often worthwhile to trail after bandwagon riders so as to scoop up the suddenly-unfashionable gems that they leave in their wake. If a ~$14 Russian River Chardonnay this tasty is part of the leavings, then I’m more than happy to trail along at the tail-end of the vanguard.
Total value: 15/15