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Ever wondered what a wine expert might want drink while skydiving or what kind of bottle can wow even someone who tastes wine for a living? Top Ten’s Zoe and Brie take on pairings and perfect bottles this week, with a few fun facts about themselves along the way.

Q&A with Zoe Henson, Top Ten Liquors

Zoe Henson is from Northfield and holds the Intro Court of Master Sommelier certification; she’s currently working on her WSET Level 2. Before coming to Top Ten, she worked at Terzo and Saint Genevieve in Minneapolis, Sojourn Cellars in Sonoma, and Vinify, a custom crush facility in California.

What is your favorite everyday bottle?

Moccagatta Barbera d’Alba! So much acid, beautiful tannins, so good on its own or with food. Basically, just get in my belly.

What’s your favorite cheap wine?

Gamay! It’s this ‘champagne taste on a beer budget’ kinda lady’s ideal wine! Grab some Beaujolais-Village and trick your friends

What’s your favorite bottle for vacation?

Me on the beach in a tropical country in a polka dot bikini drinking Leo Steen Chardonnay straight from the bottle OR popping a bottle of Grand Cru Champs while I sky dive out of an airplane and, as always, chug straight from the bottle, baby!

What’s the hardest dish to pair? What would you pair with it?

People always seem to have a hard time pairing super spicy, very herbaceous food like Vietnamese or Thai food. But I think it’s easy! Give me something with a little residual sugar like a Demi-Sec Vouvray, Tuetonic Riesling, or Bott-Geyl Alsatian.

How has your background influenced your path through the wine world? What do you uniquely bring to the table?

I started out in the wine world at a pretty young age (19 years old), so I’ve been able to cram a lot of experience in pretty early in my career, which is awesome! Being young and a woman in an industry that favors men has definitely had its challenges, but honestly that only increases my passion for wine, and I think my age gives me a fresh take on an industry that is always evolving!

Q&A with Brianna Montgomery, Top Ten Liquors Plymouth

Brianna Montgomery (but you can call her Brie) of Top Ten Plymouth hails from New Bedford, Massachusetts. She has a WSET Level 3 certification, but considers herself a forever student. Before Top Ten you could find her brewing up a cup of coffee at Starbucks by day, working as a wine consultant for Vinifera Wine and Ales by night, and capturing family memories as a photographer on the weekend.

iella.

What is your favorite everyday bottle? 

When I’m not drinking late vintage Italian wine, my go to as of late is the Angelo Negro Arneis for white and the Drew Suitcase Pinot Noir for red. Not only do these vinos show balance, structure, and complexity, but most importantly they allow the place they come from to shine through well. These are my everyday wines where I can pop a bottle open and, just maybe, drink it with a straw style.

What is your favorite new wine discovery?

Coming from someone who tastes on a regular basis, it can be hard to find that next remarkable bottle that forces you to pause and think a bit. Recently my adventure with the Leo Steen Cabernet Franc did just that. If you are not familiar with this producer, I highly recommend that you go to the store or place a curbside pickup to partake in this experience. But be warned, Leo Steen is not for the faint of palate. Leo’s philosophy is to have a very hands-off approach. He wants the grapes and the vineyard to do all the talking. And with his physical involvement with punching down on the caps, you may get a little bit of Leo in every glass.

What’s your favorite bottle for movie night?

Bubbles. Disney and Bubbles is the theme in our home and the go to is J. Lauren Demoiselle Brut.

What’s your favorite dessert and wine pairing?

Crème Brulee with Madera.

How has your background influenced your path through the wine world? What do you uniquely bring to the table?

I will quote my mother on this: “To succeed in one’s path, you must welcome the hard moments to make way for the good.” I use my own personal failures and setbacks as a way to remind myself to stay humble, honest, and to show hospitality through that. As for what I bring, well…I suppose the most honest answer is simply me. I am who I am, and that’s a passionate, feisty East Coast Italian woman who just wants the wine that someone takes home to make them smile. And that makes me quite happy.

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