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Maison Verget

Maison Verget

Terrific Values from the Mâconnais and Chablis

For many of our clients, Jean-Marie Guffens should need no introduction. After all, this outspoken, iconoclastic grower and his piercingly bright, limpid wines—both under his Guffens-Heynen and Verget (micro-négoce) labels—have been in our white Burgundy portfolio since day one. 

In his watershed book The New France (Mitchell Beazley, 2002), Andrew Jefford describes the Verget style in the following way: “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.” That pretty much sums things up. 

For those new to the Verget style, winemaker Jean-Marie Guffens perhaps summed it up best when he told us: “I am Flemish, I love purity.”

Guffens believes that lees stirring and reduction are embellishments used in white Burgundy to disguise shortcomings (much as dosage and lees aging are used in Champagne). He, therefore, avoids reduction while also bottling under screwcap. He wants you to taste the fruit in all its purity.

Although, as the French would say, this is a grower who cannot keep his tongue in his pocket, Guffens’ longstanding reputation as the enfant terrible of Burgundy has softened somewhat over the years. We cannot say whether or not this is due to the arrival of the quietly spoken Julian Desplans, now Verget’s chief winemaker of five years. What is clear is that Guffens’ fastidious lieutenant— whose CV includes a stint at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti—has instilled an impressive measure of articulate consistency across the entire Verget portfolio. 

It's important to point out that while Verget’s grapes are négoce, the estate works only with low yields, and it is Guffens’ team that conducts the harvest, discarding any substandard material. Then, in the cellar, Desplans works almost exclusively with free-run juices. Ferments are natural and occur in Verget’s large horizontal stainless-steel tanks that offer the same lees to wine ratio as oak barrels. Here, the lees can be worked delicately with nitrogen without introducing any oxygen into the vessel. Guffens and Desplans want you to taste the fruit in all its purity. 

Region

Burgundy, France

Appellation

Mâconnais

Wine Maker

Jean-Marie Guffens and Julian Desplans

“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 Kelley, The Wine Advocate

Maison Verget

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