2020 Domaine Guffens-Heynen

"This maturity is assessed by taste,
because if the grapes are not good, neither will the wine"

"This maturity is assessed by taste,
because if the grapes are not good, neither will the wine"

Jean-Marie Guffens - Guffens-Heynen & Verget

Mar 22, 2023

V E R G I S S O N | Macon

Guffens-Heynen wines haven't been in the US for over a decade, however they have remained as one of the most sought after domaines for Burgundy lovers. We had enjoyed various vintages in Europe and Japan, but due to the 10 year gap of not having a US importer, we wanted to seek out the wines and understand them a bit more. William Kelley, being a close friend, introduced us. Arriving at the estate for the initial visit, we spent nearly 9 hours conversing about wine and life.

Interestingly enough, we talk about focusing on young winemakers who are helping to re-define the future of winemaking. Winemakers who are making bold yet smart changes, and practicing healthy viticulture. It may not seem that Jean-Marie fits into this category, but he does in more ways than one! Jean-Marie and his wife Maine settled in Vergisson in 1976. Despite making wine since 1980, the rest aligns pretty closely. We never claim to be an importer of "organic or "biodynamic wines", but try to put a focus on the term healthy viticulture instead. We don't believe you need a certification to achieve something remarkable in the vineyard. Jean-Marie feels just the same wayfrom the appellation system and regulations to the term biodynamics.

After arriving in Vergisson from Belgium, they immediately emerged themselves into learning about winemaking and acquired their first plots of Pierreclos in 1979. Since the early 80s, Jean Marie has been pushing to prove that great chardonnay doesn't solely come from the Côte de Beaune. Nor does it have to have a 1er cru or Grand cru designation on the label. His first official vintage was 1982 with the wines from Vergisson, followed by starting the Negociant label- Verget in 1990. Verget is his project with purchased fruit from Chablis and Côte de Beaune

The Wines of Jean-Marie Guffens - Guffens-Heynen & Verget

Viticulture and Vinification


Guffens believes in making honest wines. We often discuss producers and speak about who they have learned from or have philosophies similar to. Maybe the most controversial view is his dis-belief in the term terroir. This statement is easily misunderstood or questioned, but when you hear him speak about it- it makes more sense. He wants to do what is best for each vineyard in regards to farming and picking. Ultimately it takes a human, not just terroir, to make these decisions. The decision of when to plant, what to plant, how to manage the vineyard and all of the decisions to make at harvest. Although he isn't one for terms- he has created some of his own, non-cultivation. He works the soils only once a year, but only very shallowly. He uses a mower to control growth of grass and weeds with the idea that this limits nitrogen production and soil compaction. He does not deleaf or hedge his vines, as all of these things tend to support more vegetative growth and lower acidity in his grapes. He harvests late with pretty ripe grapes. The berries are typically smaller as are yields. If ripening is varying in the vineyards, it is time to harvest. Usually multiple passes happen each harvest, something not typically practiced in Burgundy. In total, the Domaine wines’ now consist of 5.65 hectares in Vergisson, Pierreclos, and Davaye.


As important as picking ripe grapes is in the vineyard, pressing may be one of the most crucial parts of winemaking to Jean-Marie. The grapes are lightly crushed before being pressed. In the winery a modified coquard press is used (also uncommon in Burgundy). The first press and free run juice is a crucial part of their pressing. This is the juice that is lower in PH and provides the incredible acidity we find in the Guffens wines. When done correctly, it is quite magical. All of this is what Jean-Marie really thinks makes the major difference. It is different from vintage to vintage and vineyard to vineyard, it’s usually slow and meticulously done. It is more the person working the press than the press itself. The wine is then transferred for fermentation- various size barrels and concrete depending on the vintage.


Before being able to spend significant time in the Maconnais, Jean-Marie was a believer, like many others, that great chardonnay comes from the more serious appellations. He didn't have enough money to acquire vineyards at the time, so he started buying fruit and created Verget in 1990.

Verget follows the same ideals as the Domaine wines " the best wine is made using the best grapes" they have always only bought grapes in a very meticulous manner. Since 2006, Julien Desplans joined Jean-Marie and oversees all of the vineyards and purchases, while JeanMarie is still supporting with the vilification. By its original approach, Verget is a laboratory of terroirs and a creator of climates which reveals all the aspects, all the nuances and the subtleties of the same appellation. The relationships with the growers are most important, as Verget determines the vineyard management and is often doing the picking.


As with the domaine wines, the press is a crucial part of the Verget process. Each plot is pressed and vinified separately. During pressing, the person in charge is carefully watching and tasting along the way. The wines are aged on the lees and stirred depending on each cuvee and vintage. Aging is in cement tanks, stainless vats, or barrels and often the final product is a combination. There are unique cement tanks that have an egg shape and are horizontal rather than vertical which allows for natural circulation of the lees

The Wines of Domaine Guffens-Heynen


2021 Guffens-Heynen Macon-Pierreclos En Craz
2021 Guffens-Heynen Macon-Pierreclos Deuxieme Vendange de Chavigne
2021 Guffens-Heynen Macon-Pierreclos Deuxieme Vendange de Chavigne
2021 Guffens-Heynen Pouilly-Fuisse Cuvee Unique


2020 Guffens-Heynan Macon-Pierreclos Pouilly-Fuisse
2020 Guffens-Heynan Macon-Pierreclos Juliette et Les Vieilles de Chavigne
2020 Guffens-Heynan Pouilly-Fuisse 1er Cru Premiers Jus des Premiers Cru
2020 Guffens-Heynan Pouilly-Fuisse Croux et Petits Croux


2018 Guffens-Heynen Macon Pierreclos Tri de Chavigne
2018 Guffens-Heynen Macon-Pierreclos Juliette et les Vieilles de Chavigne
2018 Guffens-Heynen Pouilly-Fuisse Trois C
2018 Guffens-Heynen Pouilly-Fuisse 1er Cru Jus des Hauts des Vignes


2016 Guffens-Heynen Macon Pierre Clos Le Chavigne

RP 91 There are fully 8,000 bottles of the 2016 Mâcon-Pierreclos Le Chavigne, a superb wine that unfurls in the glass with a classy bouquet of Meyer lemons, confit citrus and smoky reduction. It's full-bodied, ample and silky, with a deep, layered mid-palate, tangy balancing acids and a mouthwatering finish. It's reminiscent of the lovely 2011 rendition. - William Kelley


2014 Guffens-Heynen Macon Pierre Clos Tri de Chavigne