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Un grand cru05/12/2008 - par Mark Tungate
A friend of mine, Eve Resnick, recently wrote a book called Wine Brands. It's about many different things: the changing patterns of wine consumption, the influence of the internet on sales and marketing...What it does not do, however, is offer a guide to the labyrinth of regions and grape varieties that make wine such a daunting drink for an amateur – especially an English one. Fortunately, sitting alongside Eve's book on my bedside table is a Japanese manga.
Actually it's my first ever manga. Until now I've been immune to this particular art form. But then I read about Les Gouttes de Dieu. Recently translated into French, the manga is a huge hit in Japan. Its story is simple: the son of a renowned œnologue, young Shizuku Kanzaki, has developed a hatred of wine. But when his father dies, Shizuku stands to inherit a priceless collection of vintage wines. Except that in his will, Shizuku's father has set him a challenge: he must find the world's 12 greatest wines, or The Drops of God. Accompanied by the sexy sommelier from his local wine bar, our hero sets out on his quest. With him, we learn about les grands crus, tasting techniques, and various other aspects of wine.
In Japan, each time a particular bottle is mentioned its sales explode. So the book has become a marketing phenomenon, as well. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that I'll be tasting a Grand Échezeaux 2002 any time soon: according to the internet, it costs about 900 euros a bottle.