“I’ve liked wine ever since I could drink,” Legend says.
Credit: Donato Sardella/Getty Images

“We could all use some love right now in L.A., as the fires are raging,” John Legend says, referencing the nearby Ventura County fire, which cast an orange haze over the Los Angeles skyline.

We had unobstructed views from the rooftop of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel late Thursday afternoon, where we drank some wine, and asked the Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer songwriter questions about his wine label LVE, which launched in 2015. Pronounced L-V-E, an acronym for Legend Vineyard Exclusive, the brand name also evokes the word 'love'—“I believe that wine and music bring us closer together,” Legend says. “A lot of us are going to celebrate the holidays with friends and family, and this wine is really about celebrating with people you love."

Legend created the brand with Napa-based Raymond Vineyards, which belongs to the Boisset Collection. It’s a family-owned company with wineries in Napa and France and is actually the biggest wine producer in Burgundy, as well as being the third largest in the country. For years, Legend had been looking to create a wine label where he could be heavily involved in the process. He connected with Raymond proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset through a friend of a friend, and the two hit it off.

“I like to work with the best, whether it’s making music or films,” Legend said. “We felt that Raymond Vineyards and Jean-Charles Boisset would be perfect partners for us. They’re world-renowned and world-respected, and were so passionate about collaborating.”

He and wife Chrissy Teigen made several visits to Napa, staying at Boisset’s house and visiting his vineyards. “We really wanted to make something we were all proud of, so we tasted and blended, blended and tasted. We listened to music together and had great meals together and kept working on it until everything was right.”

The collaborative line launched two years ago, and today boasts three wines: a Red Blend (55 percent Petite Sirah, 39 percent Merlot), a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay. The Chardonnay Legend and Boisset won Wine Enthusiast’s first-ever Wine & Culture award last year, in recognition of Legend successfully bringing the spirit of his music to the world of wine.

“I’ve liked wine ever since I could drink,” he says. “I usually like white wine during the day, I like red wine at night, I feel like it settles and calms me and feels like nighttime. The Cabernet is the first one we developed, that’s usually my favorite American wine of choice. We’ve had it with Italian meals, we’ve had it with soul food, we’ve had it sitting on the couch watching reality T.V.."

LVE has received some impressive reviews, including the Cab Sauv earning 91 points from Wine Enthusiast, and 93 points from Wine Spectator. (It retails at $85; the Chardonnay and Red Blend are $45 and $50, respectively.) After the Q&A in the penthouse, we went up to the rooftop where Legend performed several songs, to be aired on Jimmy Kimmel on December 13—stay tuned for that.