60 Second Wine Review — Kicker Cane Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

A few quick thoughts on the 2014 Kicker Cane Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from the Francis Ford Coppola Family of Wines.

The Geekery

Kicker Cane is made by the Coppola family whose modern history in winemaking dates back to the 1970s when Francis Ford Coppola purchased the historic Inglenook estate in Napa.

James Laube notes in California’s Great Cabernets that originally Coppola wanted to keep a low profile in the wine industry and had André Tchelistcheff oversee the management and winemaking of his early vintages.

Today the Coppola family’s holdings have grown into an extensive portfolio of wines that includes Francis Ford Coppola Presents, Director’s Cut, Sofia sparkling wine, Archimedes, Storytellers Wines, Votre Santé, Press Run Wine, Virginia Dare Winery and American Pioneer Wine Growers along with Inglenook (formerly Rubicon Estate and Niebaum-Coppola) and Kicker Cane.

The Kicker Cane series of wines are produced by Sandy Walheim and focuses on Cabernet Sauvignon grown in different regions of the North Coast with particular highlights on the the Rutherford AVA in Napa Valley and Alexander Valley AVA in Sonoma County. Prior to working for Coppola (where she also heads up winemaking for Virginia Dare), Walheim worked in Napa at the Robert Mondavi Winery, Beringer, Cain Vineyards as well as at Simi Winery in Sonoma.

The Wine

Medium-plus intensity nose. Red fruits–currants, plums and cherry–with noticeable oak spice and coconut.

Photo by Cserfranciska. Uploaded to Wikimedia Commons under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Very strong oak flavors characterize this wine.


On the palate, those red fruits carry through and have a juicy element with medium-plus acidity. The oak also carries through and makes it present known with ample vanilla that adds weight to the ripe medium-plus tannins. Moderate length finish ends on the oak spice.

The Verdict

At $18-23, this is a very oak-driven Alexander Valley Cabernet that would certainly appeal to those who enjoy those styles (a la “a baby Silver Oak”).

It does have enough acidity for balance and pairing with weighty dishes like meat to make it a solid restaurant pour.

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