What do Japanese comics have to do with Brunello?

by Jenny Cuddihy on January 8, 2014

More than you would think.  2009 vintage tile After the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino declared 2009 a 4 star vintage, they then revealed the annual vintage tile, created by Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto.   Agi and Okimoto (who are actually three people, brother and sister creative team Yuko and Shin Kibayahi and artist Shu Okimoto) are the forces behind the New  York Times best-selling 神の雫, which translates to Drops of God, a Japanese manga series about wine. Drops of God by Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto Starting in 2004 in Japan, the series has sold more than half a million copies and has spurned a live action television adaption in 2009.  Also in 2009, Decanter ranked Shin and Yuko Kibayashi at #50 on their Power List, saying their work was “arguably the most influential wine publication for the past 20 years.” The plot of Drops of God is easy to understand, yet full of suspense.  Kanzaki Shizuku, the protagonist, receives news that his estranged father (a wine critic) has passed away.  In his will, he says that in order for Shizuku to claim his inheritance, he must first identify thirteen wines known as the “Twelve Apostles” and the thirteenth, the  “Drops of God” that his father describes in the will.  To add even more pressure, Shizuku is competing in this wine scavenger hunt with a renowned young wine critic, who had been treated as a son by Shizuku’s late father. The descriptions of the wines in the comics teach about wines in a fun and non-conventional way, for example comparing the acidity in a wine to Queen singer Freddie Mercury’s voice.  All are wines that Yuko and Shin Kibayahi have personally tasted and love, and instantly propel the named vineyard’s sales in the Asian markets. While only 9 apostles have been named so far, Montalcino’s own Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino from 2005 was named as the ninth apostle. For those keeping track, Shizuku is losing 4-5 in his identification of the wines.  Time will tell who will wine the legacy, and where the other four wines will be from.  Stay tuned to find out. Vintage tiles in Montalcino

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