VERGET & GUFFENS-HEYNEN
VERGET is the name of the négoce owned and run by Jean-Marie Guffens in the Mâconnais. He also has a small Mâcon domaine, Domaine Guffens-Heynen, which makes some of the greatest white wine in the world. Finally, he has an outpost in the south of France, Château des Tourettes.
Jean-Marie is a transplanted Belgian, having arrived in the Mâconnais in the 1980’s, determined to make wine. Good wine. By any measure he has succeeded.
In 1990, after 5 years as a wine broker, Jean-Marie Guffens founded his own négociant company, Verget. His conviction was and still is that « the best wine is made using the best grapes ». He buys only handpicked grapes. Loaded into 40 kg cases to preserve them from bruising, they are trucked back to Verget, re-sorted if needed and pressed using a pneumatic press. There is total control of the winemaking process. All wines are vinified, ‘raised’ and bottled at Verget. Focus is on the use of lees, on the gentlest-possible handling of the fruit and the young wine, and on barrel fermentation. The resulting wines display precision, sharpness of fruit and considerable minerality allied to textural richness.
Lionized in the 1990’s as one of the greatest white winemakers in the world he receded from the spotlight in the 2000’s. Never shy, his unvarnished opinions had alienated neighbors, importers and even journalists. As his stage shrank, his performance never wavered. His wines have never been better. He continues to single-handedly prove that a négoce can be as faithful to terroir as a domaine, and that talent always trumps complacency. Happily, the market is swinging back to him. France’s leading wine magazine has once again named him one of France’s greatest winemakers.
He makes a huge range of wines, the names of which change with infuriating frequency. This list is partial, and already obsolete.
Verget Mâcon Pierreclos
Verget Bourgogne Blanc ‘Terres de Pierres’
Verget Mâcon-Villages 'Vallon Lamartine'
Verget Vin de France Chardonnay
Verget 'Tinus Blanc'