When I first met Yves Plaisantin it took be about five seconds to realise this was somebody I needed to get to know a little better. First, he is good friends with Matthieu Baudry, one of the very top names in Chinon. In fact, the two are business partners together, as Yves, his wife Émilie Riopel and Matthieu all have a share in La Cabane à Vin, a wine bar conveniently located just off the Place du Général de Gaulle in Chinon. Secondly, he is a vigneron with some valuable experience under his belt, including five years working in the USA, and he is only recently returned to Chinon. And there is little I find more exciting than seeing the new generation of vignerons, especially those who have broadened their horizons with some experience in the New World, return to the long-established appellations of the Loire Valley. In my experience, as we have seen with the arrival of Emmanuel Ogereau in Anjou, or closer to home Jérôme Billard, on the opposite bank of the Vienne, for example, the results can be very good indeed.
Thirdly, when we met it was about two o’clock in the afternoon, and calling into La Cabane à Vin I found Yves (and Matthieu, it has to be said) tucking into the largest platter of steak frites I have ever clapped eyes on. This was a man who knew how to eat lunch, I realised. Not wishing to interrupt their repas I handed over a few crisp bank notes and walked out with a bottle of his 2011 Les Bourdes. Expecting an easy-drinking lighter style, I was captivated by its dark and brooding character, with its black fruit and black olive complexity. Reading that, it should come as no surprise that just a few weeks later I found myself piloting my hire car up the limestone côte towards his domaine, which happens to sit right next-door to Bruno Sourdais at Le Logis de Bouchardière. This is good company, based on what I have tasted.