Jean Rijckaert’s most important vinous credential came as a result of the formation of Maison Verget with Jean-Marie Guffens in the late 1980s. Guffens had been producing wines under his own label for some years and when the two met in the Maconnais, they realized their shared passions for the wines of that region. Their negociant label was launched, with Rijckaert initially the driving force behind many of the wine-making philosophies and techniques (there remains to this day a Dents de Chien de Jean), and the resulting critical acclaim would bring new attention to the region’s wines.
As with all things Guffens, personalities eventually clashed and Rijckaert (a perfectionist and equally opinionated man of the vine) moved on to establish his own Domaine as well as Negociant labels. Taking with him a philosophy of ripe harvesting, organic cultivation and unquestionably fresh wines, the Flemish Rijckaert set about to continue his work in the Maconnais while also exploring the hills of Arbois and Jura. With Chardonnay as his sole variety, Rijckaert now bottles no less than 3 dozen highly individual, single vineyard designated offerings from the hills of Macon to the mountains of Jura.
Beginning with his stunning 2002s, and continuing through his most recent vintages, critical acclaim has followed these tremendous values:
Pierre Rovani, former Burgundy critic for the Wine Advocate reported:
“Consumers should flock to Jean Rijckaert’s (pronounced “ray-cart”) wines for the incredible combination of quality and value they deliver.”
Specifically describing Rijckaert’s Pouilly-Fuisse bottlings over the years, Rovani poetically described them as:
“concentrated, fleshy, and deep, bursting on the palate; big, bold, dense, thickly textured; intense, deep, and layered; muscular, with fabulous balance and an exceptionally long finish.”
While current day Burgundy critic for the Wine Advocate, David Schildknecht comments of Rijckaert’s Jura wines in terms to include:
“If you think there are no exciting and modestly-priced wines so-labeled, you are in for a shock!”
Other notable critics who ring the bell for Rijckaert’s Jura wines include Jancis Robinson:
“Few producers have done more to build bridges between this ignored region than Jean Rijckaert, who was the business partner of Jean-Marie Guffens-Heynen of Verget throughout the early 1990s. Now Rijckaert has been developing his own business, making top quality white wines, mainly Chardonnay, from some carefully –researched vineyards in the Maconnais and Jura. His wines are superclean and racy and extremely well-priced.”
Considering the cost of most highly praised White Burgundy and other highly rated Chardonnays of our time, it’s exciting to find such tremendous value in this category in the 21st century. When was the last time YOU can recall a White Burg or Chardonnay (worth seeking out) that offered so much in the glass while taking so little from the wallet?!