As many Farr Vintners customers now know, Verget's Les Combes Vieilles Vignes is the not-so-hidden jewel of the portfolio. Not considered for premier cru status in the recent classification of Pouilly-Fuissé due to part of the vineyard facing north (just ask Jean-Marie Guffens what he thinks of the men in suits), it is often Verget's best bottling.
The north-facing vines - which represent 30% of the vineyard, and are around 70 years old - have a distinct advantage in warm years like 2022. The result is a wine that blends fleshy, concentrated fruit together with acid-driven tension. Added to this, Guffens picks in several "tris", or passes through the vineyard, to ensure the final wine is lively in acidity but full in fruit.
The 2022 is a brilliant, incisive wine with great poise and freshness for the vintage. William Kelley gives it a 94 point score in The Wine Advocate, the joint highest score in the Verget portfolio. Describing the wine, he praises the "satiny attack", "elegantly fleshy palate" and "racy acids". Discussing Verget as a whole in 2022, he says "the best cuvées very much belong among the Mâconnais élite."
This cuvée has impressed us more each time we have tasted it this year. It is deep and focused, and will benefit for a year or two of bottle age before opening. It will drink beautifully for over a decade, the screw cap closure ensuring an even, slow evolution in the bottle. This is an exceptional Chardonnay, one that will compete with wines that are more than ten times the price from the Côte de Beaune.
The 2022 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Combes Vieilles Vignes was picked in three "tries"—that's to say, successive passages through the vineyard selecting only the ripest fruit. Revealing aromas of pear, toasted nuts, citrus zest, white flowers, beeswax and nutmeg, it's medium to full-bodied, with a satiny attack that segues into an elegantly fleshy palate built around racy acids and concluding with a long, saline finish. Drink 2025-2040.
This may not be Premier Cru, but it is often Verget's top wine - albeit not quite as thick and viscous as Sur la Roche. The vines face both North (30%) and South (70%) and Verget pick them in three separate "tris" - as at Domaine Guffens. This leads to grapes of different ripeness and acidity levels. These are fermented separately and then blended together for oak ageing in barrel - of which 25% is new. Outstanding again this year, the nose is focused but promises great things with pure citrus oil and fleshy orchard fruits. The wood spice is enveloped in fruit, beautifully balanced for such a young wine. The palate delivers on the potential from the nose, with great density of fruit tightly coiled and never heavy. This is a little closed now, but it shows great potential and will reward a little patience in bottle. This is a wine of power and precision, effortlessly balanced between acid, fruit and wood. There is almost grip to this wine. The fruit builds in tandem with subtle spice through the mid-palate, bursting on the very long finish without ever losing harmony. This will be even better with a year or two in bottle.