With the weather doing its best to make me a shut in, I thought I’d rethink my daily snow shovel workout and settle in with a book or two (or four) about wine. The Drops of God is a Manga series of stylized comic novels about the myriad aspects of wine. Written and illustrated by Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto, it begins with a quest: the two sons of a recently deceased, renowned wine expert must compete to find and identify the twelve ‘heaven- sent’ wines. Within one year, the winner will correctly answer to which wines, and what vintages, their father was referring. As the story unfolds, it illuminates the finer points of wine service; the benefits of decanting, what to look for in terms of color: How it indicates both maturity of the wine and the climate of where the grapes were grown. The books also demonstrate how two people drinking the same wine can have vastly different impressions about what it tastes like. In this world, the images, memories, sights, smells and feelings wine can evoke, may ultimately uncork its ability to heal.
Manga (MAH-Nnnn-Gah) is traditionally read from right side to left, with the panels and text also read from right
to left. This takes a wee bit of getting used to but the information and story is so interesting, it really doesn’t matter. The artwork of Manga is quite distinctive with characters that have large eyes, small mouths and an outpouring of over exaggerated emotions. And what’s really amazing to me is the detail given in the novels about the wine industry (from vineyard to wine cellar to restaurant) and how looks, labels and first impressions can be very misleading.
The strength of these books is that they appeal to all wine audiences from beginner to expert.
They’re a really cool way to study and gain an in-depth understanding of the magic of wine.