Shochu is the most consumed alcoholic beverage in Japan. It is a distilled liquor that can be made from different bases, most commonly sweet potato, rice, and barley. It is usually bottled and consumed at around 25% alcohol by volume, though it can vary. When bottled at a higher abv, it is commonly mixed with water to be enjoyed under 20% abv. Single distilled, the idea is to preserve the unique flavors of the base ingredient and its distinguishing characteristics. With 90 Points or above, these are the top scoring schochus of 2018’s Ultimate Spirit Challenge.
Sauvignon Blanc is one of the world’s most popular white wine grape varieties, offering delicious wines from a wide range of regions with distinct styles. In 2018’s Ultimate Wine Challenge the top 6 scoring wines were from a combination of New Zealand and The United States, with scores upwards of 90 Points.
Hungary, like many Eastern European countries, has a long history of great wine. Like so many of its bordering nations the fact that the wines are little known, even among sommeliers, is due largely to a history of political and social instability. As interest in the traditions of the regions grow, the wines of Hungary are making an international comeback, and their most well known region, Tokaj, is leading the charge.