Belgium husband and wife duo Jean-Marie Guffens and Maine Heynen started Domaine Guffens-Heynen in the early 80s when they bought their first plot in Pierreclos, in the Mâconnais. Later in the early 90s, they ventured into the Cote d’Or and Chablis through purchased grapes via their negociant arm, Maison Verget.
At Maison Verget in Sologny, winemaker Julien Desplans opened a selection of bottles from all their estates, from dry Barsac from Chateau Closiot to Marsanne / Roussanne blend from Chateau des Tourettes in the Southern Rhone, and of course Verget and Guffens-Heynen.
Maison Verget makes around 22 cuvees, on average 55hl/ha yield, an average of 200,000 bottles every year. Whereas Domaine Guffens-Heynen owns 6 hectares in total, of which 4 hectares in Mâcon-Pierreclos. Yields are at 30-35hl/ha on average, considerably lower than the appellation limit. Even in a high yield vintage like 2018, the yield was 45hl/ha. i.e. less than 30,000 bottles every year on average.
Maison Verget Winemaking
Verget has the same winemaking philosophy as Domaine Guffens-Heynen. Chardonnay only from purchased grapes (never must / juice) from Cote de Beaune to Chablis, often they pick the grapes and even have a say on vineyard management. Pneumatic press (unlike Domaine Guffens-Heynen where they use vertical press). Natural yeast fermentation. Depending on the cuvee, wines are aged with lees in a mixture of cement eggs (around 8 months), stainless steel tanks and barrels. Clay fining before bottling.
Wines in Maison Verget are bottled screwcaps, they have been introducing screwcaps since 2004. Meanwhile, Domaine Guffens-Heynen kept the corks but moved to DIAM in 2011.
Verget Mâcon-Pierreclos ‘Lieu Secret’ 2020
This plot is close to Guffens-Heynen’s parcel in Le Chavigne, and needless to say they keep a close eye to this parcel. 25% new oak, 10 months in barrel, pretty much the same vinification method as the Domaine version. Tightly knitted ripe citrus and stone fruits. Fleshy medium bodied with good phenolic ripeness. I find 2020 whites overall lack some fruit energy, often bold and Textured with a stoney finish. (87/100)
Note: this plot was subsequently purchased by Domaine Guffens-Heynen after the 2020 harvest.
Verget Saint-Veran Vigne de Saint-Claude 2017
From old vines (c. 50 years old), and often one of the first vineyards to harvest from. 20% new oak. Fresh and vibrant citrus and ripe tree fruits like red apples and pears. Quite tart with a saline touch. Great phenolic ripeness with all their wines. Drink now – 2033. (87/100)
Verget Pouilly-Fuisse Les Combes Vieilles Vignes 2021
70 year old vines. Picked in end of September. Small crop due to frost. Light citrus and white stone fruits, quite supple with a wet slate quality. Considerably lighter bodied than the previous vintage, but a great effort. (86/100)
Domaine Guffens-Heynen Mâcon-Pierreclos ‘Tri de Chavigne’ 2018
‘Tri de Chavigne’ represents the fruits from three passages through the vines during harvest. After tasting Verget Mâcon-Pierreclos, this is a significant step-up in terms of intensity and power. Powerful citrus, ripe stone fruits and a saline core. A smokey and reductive undertone that reminisce Raveneau from Chablis. Beautiful depth and very refined. (90/100)
Triangle de Guffens 2019
A blend of white wines from all his estates, 36% Semillon from Chateau Closiot in Barsac, 36% viognier from Chateau des Tourettes in the Southern Rhone, and 28% Chardonnay from Domaine Guffens-Heynen. Semillon aged in barrel, chardonnay aged in concrete egg and viognier in new oak. Beautiful crisp fruits, pear drops and honey with white flowers and stoney / wet slate nose. Great ripeness with a sense of tension. Screwcap used as Julien believes the three grapes matures in different pace, and by using screwcap the wine ages slowly and more stable. A great blend that is surprisingly delicious. (89/100)