Guide to the Loire regions

Côte Roannaise

Grower Profiles

Jacques Plasse
The chatty and smiley Jacques Plasse represents the third generation to have worked this six hectare domaine situated on the very edge of a plateau above the plain. The major part of the vineyard was planted in 1953 by his father, now in his late 80s. For the most part, wine was not his first choice of career; a six hectare domaine is not sufficient to feed two families, so he worked as an industrialist in Roanne, and although he was involved in the domaine on a part time basis, he only took full control in 1999.

Of the six hectares, 5.7ha are planted to Gamay; Plasse establishing 300 metres of Viognier in 2008. All except half an hectare of the old vines are trellised and as a consequence he chooses to harvest by hand and machine. With over half the vineyard area in the Roannaise being farmed under the auspices of the Terra Vitis, Plasse is one of the most vocal supporters and a past president of ‘La Linotte’ the local growers association set up in association with the scheme.  

The cellar is made up exclusively of cement tanks and he adopts a traditional approach to his winemaking, although does rely on cultured yeasts for fermentation. There are two separate rosés, one of which is declassified to Vin de Pays since it retains around 30/l of residual sugar, although on tasting the wine you wouldn’t believe the analysis. The other is much more mineral and serious.

Of the three reds, ‘Bel Air Rouge’ is a fruité, early drinking, quaffable wine, whilst the ‘Vieilles Vignes’ is the more serious, although I found the 2006 a little bit baked. He is also one of the four growers to have vines (two hectares, to be precise) in the Bouthéran lieu-dit and this is bottled separately. I found the 2007 a decent enough example considering the quality of the vintage.

The situation of the cellar and the welcoming nature of the man himself, who was clearly occupied with pruning during the time of my visit, made this one of the highlights of the research in the Roannaise. I think a visit to see Jacques Plasse should be on anyone’s itinerary when planning a sojourn in the region.

Jacques Plasse
Bel Air
Saint-André d’Apchon
T: + 33 4 77 65 84 31
P: + 33 6 45 14 44 80
F: + 33 4 77 65 93 48  

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