1943 is my favorite vintage -- even though I was a very small part of it.
The fabulous wine grapes of that vintage all the way across Europe were carefully picked by hard-working farm girls and their moms because all the brave and terrified young men that year were far, far away, fighting for freedom/defence/liberation/country/you name it. It was War.
That's the vintage when I was born. Along with George Harrison, Janis Joplin, Sharon Stone, Bobby Fischer, Arthur Ashe, Mick Jagger, Catherine Deneuve, Billie Jean King and Keith Richards.
It was a a good wine year, one of the best of World War II. I celebrate it every year with a wine of 1943 and a fine dinner with my old friend Alan Gardner, a man of the same vintage and British heritage (and same off the wall humor).
This year we enjoyed a palate cleanser of Billecart-Salmon Rose Champagne, impeccable as always. Then a precise and thrilling old Chardonnay, a mere 10-year-old Coche-Dury Burgundy 2007 with our lobster. Big guns followed with the roast leg of lamb and Yorkshire pudding: Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion 1943, opening from tight chalky tannins into ethereal red and black berry fruit in the glass, then a 1943 vintage Port just now coming into its own.
It's a birthday tradition around here. May it long continue!