In less than 10 years Verget has become one of the most respected négociants/éleveurs in Burgundy, even though its rise to fame has not been without controversy. In 1991 Belgian Jean-Marie Guffens set up a high-tech winery in the sleepy village of Sologny in the Mâconnais and began buying-in fruit from carefully selected growers across the whole of Burgundy. Having settled in the Mâconnais with his small domaine, the rambunctious Belgian Jean-Marie Guffens decided to develop a small négociant business, originally in partnership with his compatriot Jean Ricjkaert. There is now a relatively stable Mâconnais portfolio, though the designation of the wines may change, along with various excursions into the Côte d’Or and especially Chablis. The latter is a love-hate relationship. He loves the place and the potential of its wines. He does not always see eye-to-eye with the people and he hates the mediocrity of some of their product. In some years he purchases widely, in others scarcely at all.Today he produces nearly 60,000 cases a year and vinifies wines from 32 different appellations. Across the board his wines have a purity of fruit distinctiveness and, most importantly, they fully reflect their viticultural origins. The secret is in the fruit - he insists on extremely low yields and the grapes being harvested at the point of optimum ripeness. In the winery a policy of minimal handling and meticulous attention to detail is followed. At the time of writing there is the possibility of diversification into red wines, particularly with the assistance of right-hand man Julien Desplantes. Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
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