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Verget: New White Burgundy (and Friends) from a “Reference Point for the Mâconnais” [Kelley]

Verget: New White Burgundy (and Friends) from a “Reference Point for the Mâconnais” [Kelley]
“Jean-Marie Guffens’s Verget label continues to be a reference point for the Mâconnais. The best cuvées very much belong among the Mâconnais's élite, but this portfolio is also rich with terrific values to purchase by the case that would make ideal daily drinkers or by-the-glass pours. Classy but keenly priced white Burgundy isn't easy to come by these days, so we should all be thankful for the Maison Verget. These wines come warmly recommended.” William Kelly, The Wine Advocate
“Don’t buy Verget wines looking for the kind of cheese paste, farm straw richness of traditional "funky" white Burgundy; these are white wines made with the kind of ravishing purity, compelling sensual austerity more familiar among the greatest winemakers of the Saar, the Ruwer, or Alsace.” Andrew Jefford, The New France
“Guffens does not need a prestigious vineyard – just give him some decent vines with decent terroir and he will turn out a delicious and occasionally profound wine.” Neal Martin, Vinous


We have learnt, over the years, that it pays to set off early for an appointment at this address in Sologny. The town itself is tiny, so in theory Verget’s cuverie should be the easiest to find as the town’s most prominent structure. But somehow, it isn’t. Google maps is no help at all and, if you stop to ask one of the locals, they have never heard of Verget. Yeah, right. I’m beginning to think it is a conspiracy: the Mâconnais answer to Hangar 18. We digress. Unfortunately, Jean-Marie Guffens cannot be with us this year (although he calls on the phone to say hello), so the wonderfully affable and deeply knowledgeable Julien Desplans, who has been Guffens’ right hand for over 15 years, shows us through the wines.

We always enjoy tasting with Julien, who might know all there is to know, even if we miss the grandeur and savage wit of Jean-Marie’s presence. As is often the case, we taste through a comprehensive and eclectic range of whites. 2020 was an outstanding vintage across Burgundy, and there’s no exception here. It has the edge over 2019, and Julien gives us the quote of the day when he declares that 2020 was “the best vintage since I have been working here” (he is not at all prone to exaggeration). Backing this up, William Kelly has written, “... this vintage has turned out brilliantly, and I'd rank it alongside 2017 as Verget’s finest vintage in recent years.” 2021 also looks very impressive; a challenging year of frost and hail, with cool temperatures offering a marked contrast to those solar years on either side. 

Most readers will know that Guffens also has an estate in Vaucluse, on the Plateau d’Apt, Château de Tourettes. We offer two lovely (and great value) wines from Guffens’ southern terroir below, including a welcome return of Guffens’ deliciously quirky multi-vintage bistro white.

Fewer will know that there is now also a Barsac domaine, Château Closiot. The man likes to stay busy! The wine, cropped from old-vine Semillon in the historic terroir of Clos Bonneau, is well worth seeking out. We have some of the crystalline 2018 Château Closiot Barsac currently available.

Of the Domaine Guffens-Heynen wines, there are only 200 cases released each year, so the less we say about these, the better! Maybe just that if you see any 2018s floating around, grab them—they are a reminder of how great this vintage could be for white Burgundy when the yields were not allowed to get out of hand.

More information and the full available range from Verget can be found here.

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