Manga + Wine = Awesome

In full disclosure, this series is technically old news and I have read through it before. But, like any good book, I can read it again and again and the content still feels fresh and relevant, and I pick up on things I may have missed the first time around. Bonus points — in this manga, we learn about wine.

The Drops of God Series Volume 1 by Tadashi Agi & Shu Okimoto

Synopsis: Shizuku Kanzaki, son of world-renowned wine critic Yutaka Kanzaki, has sworn off wine after a childhood inundated with taste-tests, decanter lessons, and hours studying art and literature — as they pertain to wine. So, what’s the opposite of wine? Shizuku has chosen to work in the beer business. That is, until his father dies leaving his fortune — that is, his wine collection — behind. But Shizuku finds he is not the sole heir. Wanting to leave his multi-billion yen collection to someone who will truly appreciate it, Yutaka adopted a young wine critic named Issei Tomine as his “son.” Now, Kanzaki and Issei must compete for the inheritance.

Yutaka has left behind a series of clues for the young men depicting 13 of the world’s best wines — wines he refers to as the 12 Apostles and “one that rules over them all.”

Although Shizuku has never had a sip of wine prior to his father’s death, he finds he has an innate ability to taste and describe wine. He befriends an up-and-coming sommelier, Miyabi Shinohara who, although book-smart, lacks Shizuku’s natural talent. Together, along with friends they meet along the way, they set out to solve Yutaka’s ultimate wine mystery and defeat Issei Tomine.

Why I Like It: When it comes to manga, or any comic or graphic novel, it’s all about the art. And to me, wine is an art. It seems that while Yutaka was alive, he was known for describing wine in a poetic way — and it’s through these poems that Shizuku must discover the 12 Apostles. And as Shizuku drinks his way through these mysteries he finds that what he drinks transports him to a time and place — sometimes real, sometimes imaginary. And I relate to this completely. I find that I often lack the “right” words to describe wine and find myself writing scene descriptions instead.

Miyabi tries a 1999 Richebourg from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. She’s transported to a field of flowers.

Let’s just say…I’ve been there, Miyabi. I totally get you…

What We Learn: Here’s the other thing that’s great about this book, oenophiles — we get to learn stuff! Decanting. Sure you may know what it is, but did you know that the kind of wine you’re drinking dictates how the wine should be decanted? Slowly and close to the decanter or quickly, from a distance?


Tasting Techniques. For those truly new to the wine world, get more detail about how to observe wine in the glass, what scents are common to what regions (totally geeking out on that), how and when to swirl wine in the glass.

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French Vocab. Because most of the wines featured in this volume are French varietals, we get to learn the difference between regional, village, Premier Crux, and Grande Crux wines. We learn how to read the labels and what those labels mean regarding what to expect in the wine. (French wine does not have to equal scary.)

Read It: I don’t want to write too much because I don’t want to give too much away (it is a mystery after all). Suffice it to say, I recommend it. I was lucky enough to find each volume at my local comic shop, but I’ve noticed they’ve since stopped carrying them (lack of popularity it seems). So, your best bet is to go to Amazon.

But Wait! There’s More!! Stay tuned next week for Drops of God Volume 2

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