When last we visited “The Drops of God,” the totally addicting wine manga, the two protagonists were just beginning their battle to decide who would be the emperor of wine. In one corner, ingenue Kanzaki Shizuku, the son of Japan’s most legendary wine writer who had forsaken his birthright and gone to work in, gasp, a beer distributorship! In the other, Tomine Issei, a darkly handsome, gifted young wine critic with troublesome values.
To decide the winner, the two have to parse Kanzaki’s father’s clues and identify a series of wines. The clues, which read something like Robert Parker crossed with Kahlil Gibran, have sent them all over Europe in search of fabulous wines and, of course, valuable life lessons.
Tied after six volumes, in the seventh they head to the New World – Australia and the Napa Valley. There are lots of fun name-checks of popular wineries and even a little bit of analysis. In one long Wine Train ride, Tomine treats his comely assistant/possible girlfriend with a Kistler “Cuvee Cathleen” Chardonnay, a Clos Pegasse “Mitsuka’s Vineyard” Chardonnay, an Etude Pinot Noir, a Stag’s Leap “Cask 23” Cabernet, Opus One, Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle cult Cabs, Mondavi “Heritage Collection” Cab, Caymus “Special Selection” Cab, and finally a 1999 Beringer “Private Reserve” Cab.