Anthony Hamilton, 38, is an R&B singer and songwriter whose sound brings to mind such legends as Bill Withers and Curtis Mayfield. The Charlotte, N.C., native, who released his third album, The Point of It All, in 2008, won a Grammy this year for his performance with Al Green of "You've Got the Love I Need." Hamilton is also a passionate red wine drinker and collector who says that his interest in wine, like his music, is constantly evolving. He recently spoke to Wine Spectator about his favorite wines and how his background has influenced his palate.
Wine Spectator: How do you select your wines? Do you read wine reviews?
Anthony Hamilton: Traveling and experiencing different things, you tend to ask questions. I’m always open to asking the waiter or the salesperson for recommendations. The more you know, the more you want to try different wines, the more you want to discover what wines work with particular foods. A friend introduced me to Merlot one day, and there was just something about it. It wasn't harsh or tart. It was real mellow, and I wasn't expecting that. Someone introduced me to Pinot Noir, and I fell in love with it. I could take a bath in Pinot Noir.
WS: Are there specific Pinots that you like?
AH: The 2002 Acacia Pinot Noir Napa Valley-Carneros. [It’s] like purple rain. It sprinkles heavily along the palate, quieting all that's within me for an amazing peaceful evening.
WS: You’re from North Carolina, so I imagine you grew up with a lot of hearty comfort food. Can you tell me what wine(s) you’d pair with it?
AH: I grew up with fried chicken and meatloaf with ketchup on top. With the meatloaf, I’d go for a Zinfandel because you don’t want anything to interfere with the wine. You just want the flavors to blend together and become one juice.
WS: If you’re not enjoying a home-cooked meal, where do you typically dine when you’re at home in Charlotte?
AH: The Fig Tree. They have a fantastic wine list, and the food’s amazing. My palate is in their hands. I may want to order a Napa Chardonnay because it makes sense with the fish, but if the waiter recommends a Malbec, I’m always open to step out of the box. Like music, with wine, you have to be willing to try another note.
WS: It’s your last meal on earth. What food and wines have to be on the table?
AH: Steamed cabbage and okra, a great mashed potato, honey-dill salmon and beef short ribs. I want a great Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir. But [the meal] would also be good with the Mollydooker Shiraz The Boxer 2005. That wine is spectacular.
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