Wine lesson gives FiscalNoters a taste of the trade

careers_4od8x3Blog

FiscalNoters tasted three wines – a Malbec, a rosé, and a Chardonnay – during Amanda's ShowFN.

FiscalNoters tasted three wines – a Malbec, a rosé, and a Chardonnay – during Amanda’s ShowFN.

Not many of us here at FiscalNote are wine connoisseurs. In fact, when tasked with setting up for the most recent installment of ShowFN, we quickly realized that we didn’t even have a corkscrew in the office (we could, however, come up with a half dozen bottle openers).

Luckily, we have Business Development Associate Amanda Wynter to help us distinguish our Merlots from our Malbecs. Before coming to FiscalNote, Amanda worked at a local wine bar as a bartender and cheesemonger. When her time came to tell fellow FiscalNoters about a non-work-related passion in our bi-weekly series, ShowFN, Amanda knew exactly what to do. Brimming with excitement and expertise, she presented us with “The Science of Wine: Two Truths and a Lie”.

She first challenged the room with three statements, asking us to decide which one was false.

  • Wine with “long legs” has more alcohol
  • Cork-top wine is better than screwtop wine
  • Dry wine is not sweet

Intense debate (and confusion over the concept of “legs”) ensued. In the end, the general consensus was that screwtop could be just as good as corked wine, which Amanda deemed correct. While a cork allows the wine to continue aging in the bottle, not every wine benefits from this additional aging process.

“That is so subjective!” exclaimed Customer Success Manager Anna Tupy.

Policy Manager Rishi Banerjee gives Customer Service Manager Anna Tupy a tip for removing a stuck cork during a recent ShowFN.

Policy Manager Rishi Banerjee gives Customer Service Manager Anna Tupy a tip for removing a stuck cork during a recent ShowFN.

Amanda then walked us through why the other options were indeed true: dry wine is more acidic than sweet wine due to a different fermentation process, and wine that leaves thick streams around the glass when swirled equates to a higher alcohol content.

She also taught us about how the region grapes are grown in dictates flavors. For example, a wine with citrus undertones probably comes from a southern location, while a wine that tastes more like berries is likely produced in a more northern climate.

Amanda pours out tastes of a Malbec wine to Anthony and John during her ShowFN.

Amanda pours out tastes of a Malbec wine to Anthony and John during her ShowFN.

Each wine also has a proper set of accoutrements to accompany it, which Amanda learned through her cheesemongering duties. When she showed us a picture of a perfectly balanced cheese plate, the crowd was extremely enthusiastic.

“Is that a Manchego on the left?”

While we might not know our wines, FiscalNoters certainly know our cheeses.

As we listened, we sampled three types of wine. The first was a Malbec, which Amanda deemed a “starter red” made from Argentinian grapes. The second was a “buttery” Chardonnay which was a big hit, especially with our policy manager Rishi who used to work in the dairy industry. Finally we tried a rosé, Amanda’s least favorite type wine.

“When people came into the bar and said they wanted a bottle of rosé, my first question was always ‘really?’”

She then presented us with a flow chart that she would mentally reference when a clueless customer would come in and say “I would like a bottle of wine,” failing to specify any detail that would help her choose from the bar’s hundreds of bottles.

Amanda shared this chart to illustrate her decision-making. Editor's Note: Steak is marked as a dessert, which – in the spirit of Ron Swanson – we won't argue.

Amanda shared this chart to illustrate her decision-making. Editor’s Note: Steak is marked as a dessert, which – in the spirit of Ron Swanson – we won’t argue.

While we still might not be experts, Amanda did leave us with one very important piece of wisdom: “When in doubt, go with champagne!”