Grammy-award winning singer K.D. Lang, 47, was ushered into the national spotlight when Roy Orbison tapped her to record a duet of his song "Cryin.'" She came into her own, though, with the megahit "Constant Craving," off of her 1992 album Ingenue, and went on to collaborate with Tony Bennett, write the soundtrack for Gus Van Sant's Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, and appear on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine with Cindy Crawford. Early this year, the Los Angeles-based Lang embarked on a world tour in support of her 13th album, Watershed. Lang recently spoke to Wine Spectator about her love of Italian reds and her favorite wine-and-food destination while on the last leg of her North American tour.
Wine Spectator: How did you first become interested in wine?
K.D. Lang: Through my culinary interests. I've been cooking since I was five, so it was natural [to be interested in wine] when I got to the age I could start exploring the wine aspect of food. I've always gravitated—and still do—toward Italian. I've been through a Barolo stage. I've been through a Barbaresco stage. I've been through a Brunello stage. I've not ever moved out of my Amarone stage. I think Amarone is my favorite red. I remember in 1990 I had my first bottle of really expensive Amarone [in New York]. It was stellar. I remember exactly how it tasted. I got into Port in Vancouver in 1988 or 1989. A friend of mine at the time bought me a glass of Burmester 1963. That became my drink of choice for a while.
WS: What are you drinking these days?
KDL: I really like the red wines of Portugal. I think they're under the radar and fantastic. Unfortunately, as a singer, I've had to move away from reds in general, because of the tannic wear and tear on my throat. I lean toward Champagne and white wine now. My partner's aunt—her namesake—was Jamie Davies of Schramsberg, so I feel a little connection to Schramsberg Vineyard in Napa. The Blanc de Blanc, the Rosé, the J. Schram—it's really good. I love going up to the vineyard. We go up there [from Los Angeles] fairly often.
WS: Has touring exposed you to different wines?
KDL: Yeah, it's fun to travel the world and to experience wine. … I've never been to the vineyards of France or Italy. I just drink [the wines]. … I played Leeuwin Estate [in Australia] and they had the Art Series Chardonnay that was spectacular. I played Tempus Two this year, and they have a beautiful white wine. One of my favorite wines of all time [is the] Penfolds Grange Hermitage. Melbourne and Sydney have spectacular food. To me, both culinary and wine-wise, Australia is a real superstar.
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