This is the first in a series of posts about wine-related books worth giving the oenophile on your holiday list this year. After all, do you really want to risk giving a wine lover a bottle of wine?
“ The Drops of God 1 ” (Vertical, $15), by Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto, is the manga cartoon serial that ignited a wine revolution in Japan, freshly translated into English. The series is credited with educating a new generation of wine lovers in Japan, and wines that are mentioned in its story have sold like wildfire. The plot is appropriately melodramatic: The son of Japan’s most eminent wine writer is compelled by his dead father’s will to compete against the country’s most talented young wine critic to identify the 12 most wonderful wines ever made, plus one called “The Drops of God.” The contest is nowhere near finished by the end of Volume 1, but along the way we learn how to (flamboyantly) decant old Burgundy, and we find out how fabulous vintages of first-growth Bordeaux strangely remind everyone of the same art masterpiece. It’s a fun, easy bathroom read. And of course, for wine writer/geek types like my self, it’s catnip. But why don’t the characters look Japanese? Must be a manga thing.