I’m sure at some point you’ve heard of Carrol Boyes. The designer makes ‘Functional Art‘, beautiful artistic works that can be used in the home. In fact, thanks to a wedding gift from my lovely aunt, my Hubs and I are the proud owners of a beautiful sauce bowl and matching spoon.
If you look online HERE, you can find a wide array of glassware (LOVE), kitchenware, bathroom decor and home decor. The design of each item is beautiful and unique, and so true to it’s South African origin.
However, did you know that the Carrol Boyes range also includes wine? I, myself, did not. Not just any wine either – a beautiful range of limited edition wines with her signature artwork on. Carrol Boyes partnered with her brother John Boyes, a farmer and financier to create this unique range of premier wines.
One of the newer additions to her Sketchbook range is the Fine Red Blend – a delightful combination of Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), Merlot (20%), Cabernet Franc (5%) and Petite Verdot (5%). The wine is matured in second-fill French Oak for 12-15 months. According to the site, this blend carries strong black fruit and vanilla spice accents.
Now, I was incredibly lucky to be sent a bottle of this beautiful wine by the brand. I’m a huge fan of red wine, and was thrilled to bits! I didn’t want to just pour, drink and review though. So I made dinner for my folks, Hubs and myself, and we cracked open the bottle of wine to drink with it.
At the time, I didn’t know what the Fine Red Blend was made up of. Not only did it not mention anything on the back of the bottle, but I wanted us to open it and enjoy, deciding what we thought of the wine and it’s flavour without anything suggesting this to us.
Not knowing what the blend was made up of made it tricky to decide exactly what meal to pair with it, so I went with one of my Hubby’s favourite meals. One that NEEDS a big glass of red wine alongside it. Beef lasagne.
Now, I don’t work with a set recipe, I make this meal out of my head, but I’ve tried to narrow everything down exactly for you. Here is my basic and delicious recipe for super cheesy and hearty lasagne:
CHEESY BEEF LASAGNE
(FOR THE MINCE)
500g beef mince
1 x can chopped tomatoes
1 x can tomato puree
1 x large onion, diced
1 x serving beef stock (I use the Ina Paarman Liquid Beef Stock in the sachets, which you mix up according to the instructions)
Healthy splash of red wine
2 x cloves minced garlic
1 x tsp oreganum
(FOR THE WHITE SAUCE)
2 x tbsp butter
milk – as much as you need to thing the sauce out
2 cups grated cheese
1 x ready-made sachet of cheese sauce (like this Ina Paarman one HERE)
Extra grated cheese
Soak the lasagne sheets in some hot water to soften – this will cut down on cooking time in the oven, and ensure you don’t end up with under or over-cooked pasta in your lasagne.
Soften and brown the diced onions in a little olive oil in a large pan.
Add mince and cook until brown.
Drain the mince and onion mix and add back to the pan, adding the garlic and cans of tomato. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the beef stock and oreganum. Cook for another 5 minutes before adding red wine to taste.
Add salt and pepper, and simmer slowly on very low heat.
Melt butter in a small pot. Remove from head and add flour in small amounts, mixing with a whisk.
Once all of the flour is added, add milk in small amounts, whisking constantly until you have a thin sauce.
Put the pot back on low heat and keep stirring.
Gradually add the grated cheese and keep stirring until it has completely melted. Add pre-made cheese sauce to this (not necessary, but I do this for extra cheesy flavour).
Season to taste.
In a baking dish, layer up the pasta sheets, mince and cheesy white sauce, starting and finishing with the white sauce. Add the extra cheese on top and sprinkle a little more oreganum.
Bake in a 180° C oven until the cheese on top bubbles and browns.
In the case of my Mum, who doesn’t eat pasta, I simply layered fresh baby spinach leaves instead of the pasta sheets. Easy way of making it a little lower in carbs if you prefer that too.
Out of sheer excitement to open our wine, I completely forgot to take photos of the lasagne when it was cooked. Please forgive me! Instead we sat down to dinner and all reached for our glasses of Carrol Boyes Sketchbook Fine Red Blend.
The first thing that I smelled and tasted was a deep, dark plummy fruitiness. It has a lovely fruity aroma to it, you really can smell dark fruits and plum and berries in it. It’s quite a dry, strong red, definitely not a beginner red wine – I find that if you haven’t gotten into red wine yet, you appreciate the very smooth and easy drinking red wines, whereas this is a lot more complex. I was pretty damned sure I could taste a spiciness in there too, but I couldn’t pin-point exactly what it was. It was an absolutely delicious wine that I appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed, as did my Mum and Hubs, however, my Dad isn’t a big wine drinker and prefers something much less intense if he is going to drink a red.
This truly is a special wine, from it’s beautiful bottle design, to it’s combination of varietals and right down to the flavour it brings. It would make the ideal gift, whether it be for a special birthday or even as a corporate year end gift to a great customer. I know I’d love to receive something this beautiful and unique!
You can purchase a case of 6 bottles of the Fine Red Blend for R930 HERE. This is a limited edition collection of wines, and it really is something special, so the fact it works out to just R155 a bottle is very decent. If you like to give out gifts like these at Christmas time, it might be worthwhile to get your hands on some asap!
Have you tried any of the wines on offer from Carrol Boyes? You can find them all HERE, where they have everything from red, white, rosè and bubbly!
Did you know that Carrol Boyes have also recently launched their own chocolate too?! You can find a Milk chocolate box, a Dark 55% cocoa chocolate box and a box of both Milk and Dark 55% cocoa chocolate, all in beautiful designs by Carrol Boyes, with different decadent fillings. At R99 a box, it would also make a FABULOUS gift!
**DISCLAIMER – while this was a gift from Carrol Boyes, all opinions are honest and my own.**