Calla Lily’s 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Ultimate Red delivers scents of Ribena, sage and a hint of bay leaf on the nose. It’s medium to full-bodied, silky in texture and maybe a touch tart on the finish, but it’s a solid effort.
Nearly 95% Cabernet Sauvignon (the balance is mostly Petit Verdot), the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Audax is a big step up from the 2017, boasting more refinement and purity of expression. Scents of cassis and blueberry take the lead, with subtle shadings of sage and mocha adding complexity. It’s full-bodied yet silky and suave, with a tight, composed feel on the palate and a lingering finish liberally dusted with soft tannins reminiscent of cocoa powder. While approachable now, it should drink well for more than a decade.
The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Ultimate Red actually benefits from being a big larger-scaled than previous vintages, boasting attractive cedar and cassis aromas as well as more volume on the palate than the 2018. Full-bodied and velvety, it finishes with a touch of licorice.
Approximately 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% each Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Audax is impressively dark in the glass, with attractive scents of cassis, mocha and dark chocolate; while it avoids much of the herbal nuance of the 2018, it’s a bit simpler, riper and chunkier in feel. No doubt some tasters will thrill to its ripeness, ample weight and sheer bulk—and don’t get me wrong, it’s a full-bodied, brash Cabernet I’d gladly pair with a grilled T-bone—but it doesn’t quite measure up to the balance and near-elegance of the 2018.