What Clare Vivier is drinking: No surprise, it’s French

Clare Vivier at her Atwater Village studio.

Clare Vivier at her Atwater Village studio.

(S. Irene Virbila / Los Angeles Times)

Clare Vivier, the designer behind Clare V, with shops in Silver Lake, West Hollywood, Santa Monica and Manhattan, says she’s partial to Loire Valley wines -- and always reds.

“My husband is French and he’s from the Loire Valley. That’s how I was introduced to them.”

She said they met at a dinner party in Paris, where she was interning for a documentary film company and waiting tables on the side. When she first moved to France, she didn’t know much about wine.

You always have to bring a bottle of wine to dinner parties, she said, and she quickly learned to look for bottles that said mise en bouteille au château on the label. It means “bottled at the château.” “Every wine I brought to a dinner had to say that,” she remembered.

What bottle did she bring to that fateful dinner party where she met her husband? No memory. But she does know that as she lived in Paris, she found more of the wines she liked and that they all happened to be wines from the Loire Valley.


The reds weren’t well known in the States at the time. “Since my husband, Thierry, and I moved back to the States 15 years ago, Loire Valley wines have become more and more popular,” Vivier said, “and you can actually find them in wine shops.”

The reds she likes are mostly Cabernet Franc -- Bourgueil, Chinon, St. Nicolas. Right now, she said, she’s partial to the 2012 Domaine Guion Bourgueil, a 100% Cabernet Franc “vin bio” from vintner Stéphane Guion that she picked up at Silver Lake Wine. (No newcomer to the natural wine movement, Guion’s family has been farming their vines organically since 1965.)

“I always stop at Silver Lake Wine on my way home and head straight for the spot where they keep their Loire Valley and Piedmont wines,” Vivier said.

“After work, some of us will have drinks in my garden. I’ll pick up cheese, charcuterie plates and other goodies from Cookbook in Echo Park. They have an amazing chicken liver mousse, and they have that French butter beurre de baratte. All you need is that chicken liver mousse and that butter on a baguette.” And a bottle of Bourgeuil.

Follow @sirenevirbila for more on food and wine