This is a story about how the talents of different minds came together to create the vision of Domaine Rijckaert. Pronounced “Rye-cart,” this producer has just re-entered the Ohio market after several years. We welcome these wines back with open arms (and open corkscrews!) 

Jean Rijckaert was the right hand man for Jean-Marie Guffens of Verget, a negociant located in the Macon region of southern Burgundy. Jean-Marie Guffens began Verget in 1990 with Jean Rijckaert by his side and the two of them swiflty began changing the perception of 'negociant' quality wines. Verget rose steadily to fame following the conviction that “the best grapes make the best wines.”

In 1998, after years of learning from one of the most remarkable people in the wine industry, Jean Rijckaert started his very own project – Domaine Rijckaert.  Purchasing just 4 hectares in the Southern-Burgundy village of Viré as well as 5 hectares in Arbois in the lessor-known winemaking region of Jura - Jean is both a traditionalist and a visionary. 

Jean's philosophy is terroir-driven. It’s for this reason that some might consider him a “natural winemaker." He would likely be more inclined to call himself a ‘defender of terroir’. His process has always been very much hands-off, allowing the wines to speak clearly for themselves. Adopting the same farming methods in Jura, the Rijckaert way allows the grape varieties and the soils in which they grow to speak for themselves. 

Two Projects, One Philosophy 

Both the Macon and Jura projects focus on small production wines with an extraordinary sense of place. While Chardonnay is grown in both places, the wines produced from each location are wildly different in style. 

Macon Project 

The Macon village of Viré-Clesse achieved its appellation status the same year Domaine Rijckaert was founded - an attestation to the remarkable attributes of the terroir! The area, known for its exceptional Chardonnays, aids Rijckaert in creating chiseled and fresh bottlings in a quintessential Burgundian style. Rijckaert grows both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, creating wines that are simultaneously clean and complex, and with a pretty insane value proposition. 

Jura Project 

Jura is known to create wines that present unlike any other place in the world. The region is sheltered by the Jura mountains, a sub-alpine mountain range at the border of France and Switzerland that has allowed the area to remain historically remote and the winemaking practices to remain relatively unchanged for centuries. 

In fact, the region has almost single handedly popularized a style of wine referred to as “oxidized,” which is notable for its funky, savory nose. Using only native grapes, such as Savagnin, Poulsard, Trousseau, and Chardonnay, the wines hailing from the Jura project are distinctly separate yet still crafted in a way that results in clean, fresh, super drinkable wines.  

The Handoff: Taking over for Rijckaert 

Jean Rijckaert has no heirs, meaning the traditional generational handoff was not possible. In search of a successor,  Rijckaert began mentoring the young Florent Rouve, and began slowly but surely passing off responsibility to him. Rouve officially took over the domaine in 2013. While Jean Rijckaert still consults at many steps along the way, Florent Rouve is completely at the helm of this project. 

​Florent Rouve wasn’t born into winemaking. His father was a geologist, inspiring an early interest in nature. After the family moved to the Jura area, Florent took on a job working as a forest manager of several nearby vineyards. Florent continued to work for vineyards while pursuing a degree in Agricultural engineering, and finally decided that winemaking was in fact his true passion.  After finishing an Oenology degree in Dijon, Florent got his feet wet working with Jean Rijckaert who introduced him to the minimalist style of winemaking. While he has in many ways followed in Rijckaert’s footsteps by beginning his own label, Florent still maintains the show stopping wines of the Domaine. 

“Vins Rijckaert has reached new heights under Rouve’s watchful eye. He’s preserved the savoir-faire and minimal-intervention approach that cemented its brand’s reputation—restricted yields, hand harvesting, slow and moderate pressings, indigenous yeasts and long oak aging without stirring or disruption.” — Lauren Buzzeo, Wine Enthusiast Magazine