As many of you know I have launched a business venture to try to improve the quality of restaurant wine offerings and service. The goal of Senel Wine Consulting is to help restaurants select quality wines at each price point to allow patrons to have an exceptional restaurant experience.
This past Saturday my wife and I had a chance to get out on a date night. We decided to go with somewhere which we have not been previously. We went to Unums in downtown Nashua and immediately I knew we made the right choice.
Co-owner Stephen Williams greeted us at the door with a handshake and escorted us to our table. From there on we had a terrific culinary experience. We decided on going with three appetizers instead of entrees so that we could sample some of Chef Brianas’ creations. With a line-up of fresh gnocchi & shrimp in a peanut sauce, a red pepper stuffed with mozzarella and sausage, and finished it off with baked brie & fruit plate how could we go wrong?! FYI – the portions were very generous!
We accompanied our meal with a bottle of 2005 Robert Stemmler Nugent Vineyard Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. It was a very fragrant Pinot and went well with all three dishes. It had a smoked cherry nose and led to cherry and an earthy/smoky note on the palate. The tannins were mellowed out by the meal. It was elegant and complex with a very nice balance and pleasant finish. It is almost up there with the Domaine Drouhin, however the Drouhin inches it out in terms of finesse and complexity. Still a terrific wine! However, on its’ own merit I am scoring this a solid 91.
For dessert we enjoyed a glass of 1999 Felsina Vin Santo from the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany. This was a very interesting wine due to the fact that it had such strong cognac features, yet once I had a chance to look it up (although the information was minimal) it does not seem to be fortified. Hence the nose was of very rich butterscotch similar to cognac. The palate however was very appealing with a lot of fleshy fruit and some honey going on, with the most memorable of the fruits being apricot. This is certainly a slow sipping wine and very fun to try on special occasions. I am by no means a dessert wine expert, however I found the butterscotch scent to be somewhat overpowering. Overall, I would score this wine an 89. It was very well crafted, but my aversion to cognac may have swayed the score slightly lower (don’t forget, every person’s preferences are different!).
Back to Unums!
Stephen and our waitress, Kira, were exceptionally gracious and attentive, yet not overbearing in the slightest. We were there for about three hours and it truly felt like they enjoyed us hanging around. Stephen and I had a chance to talk about the wine offering and also recommended some of his preferred wines. He also shared with me his ambitious endeavor to further improve the wine list and attempt to obtain Wine Spectator recognition. Considering his passion for enhancing his patrons’ experiences and love for well-crafted wine I believe he will certainly obtain this.
The owner, staff, atmosphere, food and drinks, brilliant! In the past I believed that Michael Timothy’s offered the best total dining experience in Southern NH. In my opinion they better stay on their game, because I can definitively say that Unums proudly rivals any New Hampshire establishment for culinary supremacy!