Cover of The Drops of GodWhat does decanting a wine do and what wines should be decanted?

What is a Grand Cru?

Why do grapes from older vines produce better wine?

What is terroir?

These are all questions that wine lovers might have, and “The Drops of God: Volume 1” answers these questions in a way I’ve never seen before. Originally, published in Japan, this manga book tells the story of Kanzaki Shizuku. He was raised by one of the world’s greatest wine experts, but has never tasted wine himself. Upon his father’s death, he learns that his father’s will stipulates that he must compete against a smug wine critic who his father legally adopted only a week before his death for a wine cellar worth a fortune.

The competition involves wine, of course, and as Shizuku learns about wine, mainly French wine, in the pages of “The Drops of God” so does the reader. The story is entertaining, too, with a cast of interesting characters and a possible love interest for Shizuku. Volume 1 ends before the real competition begins, and sets the reader up to want to devour future volumes to find out how the competition pans out.

The series is written by Shin and Yuko Kibayashi, a brother and sister, and has had a profound impact on wine drinking in Japan. According to Gilt Taste, wine sales rose 130 percent in Japan after the first volume was published in 2004, and affordable wines mentioned in the books have become not-so-affordable wines because readers starting collecting them.

I'm a wine lover and a book lover so discovering "The Drops of God" was a thrill for me. I’ve only read volume one so far, and I hope to be able to curl up with a glass of wine and read volume two over the holidays. Volume three will be out next March.

If you’re still looking for stocking stuffers for a wine lover, and he has enough wine stoppers, corkscrews, and monogramed wine coasters, “The Drops of God” is probably exactly what you're lookng for.

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