The 12 wines from ‘The Drops of God’
Infamous wine-based Japanese comic The Drops of God has become a global TV series on Apple+. Editor-in-chief Patrick Schmitt MW outlines the 12 fine wines featured.
The wines are the called ‘The 12 Apostles’ in the weekly manga, and were selected by the authors following informal tastings at home.
It remains to be seen whether the TV series, which is a loose adaptation of the manga, will follow the comics, but if that is the case, beware that the below list could include some major plot spoilers.
The labels are integral to the story, which in the comic version centres on two brothers scouring the world to track down the ‘Apostles’, and which will give them access to their late father’s million-dollar cellar.
The Drops of God phenomenon gripped Asia, and increasingly the West since its publication in 2004, and the authors of the weekly Manga – brother and sister Shin and Yuko Kibayashi – were even named as the recipients of Asian Wine Personality award from ourselves and Vinexpo back in 2016.
Any wines named in connection with the series have seen a sharp increase in interest across Asia, particularly Japan and Korea.
The wines are mostly from the great wine regions of France, although labels from Spain, Italy and California feature in the selection, which can be viewed below, including a thirteenth wine, or The Drops of God wine.
1. Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru Les Amoureuses 2001, Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier
The ‘first apostle’ was a red Burgundy from Domaine Georges Roumier.
Average price (according to Wine Searcher, without tax): £5,356
2. Château Palmer 1999
For the second apostle, the Kibayashis moved to Bordeaux and selected this celebrated third growth property in Margaux.
Average price (according to Wine Searcher, without tax): £295
3. Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Da Capo 2000, Domaine du Pegau
Staying within France, the third apostle was from the southern Rhône – a Grenache-dominant blockbuster with a 100-point Robert Parker score.
Average price (according to Wine Searcher, without tax): £475
4. Château Lafleur 1994
For the fourth apostle, the Manga authors moved back to Bordeaux, and selected this Pomerol from a tiny property opposite the more famous Château Petrus. The best wines of the 1994 vintage in Bordeaux are widely thought to come from Pomerol.
Average price (according to Wine Searcher, without tax): £561
5. Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru 2000, Michel Colin-Deléger et Fils
A white Burgundy featured as the fifth apostle, with the Kibayashis choosing one of the finest producers in Chevalier-Montrachet, a prized Côte de Beaune appellation that is located just above the even more rarified Grand Cru Le Montrachet.
Average price (according to Wine Searcher, without tax): £1,234
6. Barolo Cannubi Boschis 2001, Luciano Sandrone
The first wine to feature from outside France was a Barolo from Italy’s Piedmont, and from one of the region’s most respected producers, Luciano Sandrone, who is famous for making an approachable style with great ageing capacity.
Average price (according to Wine Searcher, without tax): £253
7. The Inaugural Eleven Confessions Syrah 2003, Sine Qua Non
The seventh apostle was the authors’ first New World wine (and the most expensive in the series): California’s Sine Qua Non – a highly collectible and cult New World Rhône grape specialist. This is the only other wine in the list to receive a perfect Robert Parker score of 100 points (the other being a wine that is from the Rhône: the Third Apostle, Domaine du Pegau from Châteauneuf-du-Pape).
Average price (according to Wine Searcher, without tax): £2008
8. Jacques Selosses Cuvée Exquise NV
The only Champagne to feature as an apostle was this cuvée from Jacques Selosse, probably the French sparkling wine appellation’s most controversial producer. Notably, the Kibayashis chose the Exquise, which is a pure Chardonnay demi-sec Champagne, with a 24g/l sugar level, by far the sweetest in the range from a house famous for its very low dosages (or sweetness levels).
Average price (according to Wine Searcher, without tax): £524
9. Brunello di Montalcino 2005, Poggio di Sotto
Then it was back to Italy for a Brunello, which came from Poggio di Sotto, a highly respected producer that takes a traditional approach to Sangiovese in this great region, and, indeed, is thought to have produced the wine of the vintage in 1995.
Average price (according to Wine Searcher, without tax): £208
10. Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru 2002, Robert Sirugue
For the 10th apostle, the authors returned to Burgundy and chose a wine from the great 2002 vintage from Grands Echezeaux, which neighbours Echezeaux, source of the Pinot Noir that kick-started their passion for wine: 1985 Echézeaux from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.
Average price (according to Wine Searcher, without tax): £1234
11. Ferrer Bobet Selecció Especial 2008
The penultimate apostle was from Spain’s Priorat region – the only wine from Spain in the list. The wine is made from almost entirely from 100-year-old Carignan and earned 96 points from The Wine Advocate.
Average price (according to Wine Searcher, without tax): £83
12. Château d’Yquem 1976
And the final apostle, and sole sweet wine, was the great Sauternes: Château d’Yquem. The Kibayashis opted for a fully mature wine from the great 1976 vintage, an extremely hot year that produce intensely sweet Sauternes.
Average price (according to Wine Searcher, without tax): £593
The 13th wine or The Drops of God wine was, in fact, not revealed in the Manga – the series finished by stating that every person has his own Drops of God bottle, as every person’s taste is different.
However, in the Japanese TV adaptation of the series, the 13th wine was Chateau Le Puy 2003, which was widely criticised.
And, as reported by db at the time, the winemaker at the Right Bank property in the Côte de Francs, Jean-Pierre Amoreau, actually withdrew the wine from circulation in Japan.
He explained to a French radio station that he wanted to “avoid speculation because we wanted this wine, which had been chosen as a mythical wine, to remain within reach of everyone.”
Average price (according to Wine Searcher, without tax): NA, but the average price across the vintages available is £127 – making it one of the cheapest wine in the series.