The Drops of God

japanese wine2

I was cruising Facebook today when I saw a post from Ata Rangi, a wine producer in Martinborough. They had posted a photograph they took of a page from a Japanese manga comic that featured a bottle of their Pinot Noir, with some characters drinking the wine and talking about it. In Japanese. They went out to the FB community for help with translating the text…

Various responses came back say things like, “Although there are calm than California Pinot Noir, and Pineapple, mango, a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, and Drank so far are mixed few tropical fruit that didn’t feel little to Bourgogone.” Quite literal translations I think, and ungrammatical…

I was intrigued and did a bit of Google stalking. I translated the French text from the comic title page. It turns out this comic is a bit of a thing…

japanese wine

From Wikipedia: The Drops of God (神の雫 Kami no Shizuku?) is a Japanese manga series about wine. It is created and written by Tadashi Agi, a pseudonym employed by creative team of sister and brother Yuko and Shin Kibayashi,[1][2] with artwork by Shu Okimoto. All the wines that appear in the comic are authentic.

The series was first published in November 2004 in Weekly Morning magazine in Japan. However, it ended on June 2014, with the final volume out in July.[3] It is also published in Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Since April 2008, volumes have also been published in France by Glénat. As of December 2007 the series had registered sales of more than 500,000 copies.[1]

Vertical Inc. is publishing the series in North America under the title The Drops of God. After publishing four volumes (covering the first eight Japanese volumes and the first two Apostles), the fifth volume jumped ahead to the story arc for the Seventh Apostle (volumes 22 and 23 of the Japanese edition), published under the name The Drops of God: New World. Vertical stated that this was done “by author request” and urged readers to “tell all your friends about the series so there will be second and third seasons to fill in the gap

Plot: Kanzaki Shizuku (神咲 ) is a junior employee in a Japanese beverages company mainly focusing on selling beers. As the story opens, he receives news that his father, from whom he is estranged, has died. His father was the world-renowned wine critic Kanzaki Yutaka (神咲 豐多香), who owned a vast and famous wine collection. Summoned to the family home, a splendid European style mansion, to hear the reading of his father’s will, Shizuku learns that, in order to take ownership of his legacy, he must correctly identify, and describe in the manner of his late father, thirteen wines, the first twelve known as the “Twelve Apostles” and the thirteenth known as the “Drops of God” (“Kami no Shizuku” in the original Japanese edition and “Les Gouttes de Dieu” in the French translation), that his father has described in his will. He also learns that he has a competitor in this, a renowned young wine critic called Toomine Issei (遠峰 一青), who his father has apparently recently adopted as his other son.

Shizuku has never drunk wine, in part a reaction against the ruling passion of his late father, nor had any previous knowledge about wines. However, with strong senses of taste and smell, and an uncanny ability to describe his experiences from those senses, Shizuku submerges himself in the world of wine and tries to solve the mysteries of the 13 wines and defeat Issei. In this, he is also helped by knowledge gained from his time as a child with his father, and supported by his friends (including trainee sommelier Shinohara Miyabi (紫野原みやび)) and colleagues in the newly formed wine department of his company, which he now joins.

To win each round of the competition to identify the 13 mystery wines, Shizuku and Issei have to present a correct choice of wine and a justification of the choice which most closely matches Yutaka’s description of the wine in his will. The judge is Yutaka’s old friend Robert Doi (土肥 ロベール). So far, the identities of ten “Apostles” have been disclosed.

First: Shizuku’s choice

Second:  Issei’s choice

 

First Apostle

 2001 Georges Roumier Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses

 1999 Georges Roumier Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses

 

Second Apostle

 2000 Château Palmer

 1999 Château Palmer

 

Third Apostlea

 2000 Santa Duc Gigondas

 1981 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape

 

Rematchb

 2000 Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée da Capo

 2000 Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée da Capo

 

Fourth Apostle

 1992 Château Lafleur

 1994 Château Lafleur

 

Fifth Apostle

 2000 Marc Colin Montrachet

 2000 Michel Colin-Deléger Chevalier-Montrachet

 

Sixth Apostle

 2001 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Cannubi Boschis

 2001 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falleto

 

 Seventh Apostle

 2003 Glaetzer Amon-Ra Shiraz Barossa Valley

 2003 Sine Qua Non The Inaugural (Eleven Confessions) Syrah Central Coast AVA

 

Eighth Apostle

 Jacques Selosse Cuvée Exquise NV

 2000 Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon Brut Rosé

 

Ninth Apostle

 2005 Brunello di Montalcino Poggio di Sotto

 2005 Brunello di Montalcino Poggio di Sotto

 

Tenth Apostle

 2002 Grands Échezeaux Grand cru Robert Sirugue

 2007 Grands Échezeaux Grand cru Robert Sirugue

 

A 2007 Reuters feature asserted that “wine industry experts believe part of the manga’s appeal is that it teaches readers enough about wine to understand the drink and impress their friends, but does so in an entertaining way”.

 In the July 2009 Decanter publication of “The Power List” ranking of the wine industry’s individuals of influence, Shin and Yuko Kibayashi placed at number 50, citing that the work was “arguably the most influential wine publication for the past 20 years”.

Wow. There are some flash wines on that list. I would love to know what the Twelfth Apostle and the Drop of God wines were…

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4 comments

  1. I think you can get the English language version on Amazon. Read about it some yrs ago and wanted to give it a go. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂


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