With only a handful of solo vintages under her belt, Fanny Sabre is already breaking a few rules in Burgundy and turning the region’s notorious old-boys’-club on its head. When her father passed away in 2000, Fanny’s mother wanted to continue running the property she had been working with her late husband since the 1980’s. Then only 16 years old and without any formal training in enology, Fanny began to work under the guidance of natural winemaking visionary Philippe Pacalet, who had come on board to assist the family. Her trial-by-fire paid off and spun the vineyards and wines in a whole new direction.
With small parcels to farm from Aloxe-Corton all the way to Meursault, Fanny’s micro-production cuvees only total some 4 ½ hectares. But she is not one to count the hectares, preferring the old-school measurement of the ouvrée, the traditional unit used to measure how much land one vineyard worker can handle in one day—a much better representation of her hands-on process. Given that 24 ouvrées equal one hectare and Fanny has a small handful of vines stretching throughout the Côte de Beaune, each appellation and each parcel become their own individual work of art. And while the moist climate in Burgundy makes organic farming such a challenge, Fanny has been one of the few leading the charge since 2001, plowing occasionally and only weeding out the naturally detoxifying cover crop when absolutely necessary.
Fanny ferments in stainless steel, older wooden foudres, and tronconic Austrian vats and she allows most cuvees to mature in older casks. With barely enough space to vinify and age her wines, she has stacked her ancient cellar full while maintaining an impeccable hygiene necessary for successful natural vinifications. Using native yeasts and semi-carbonic maceration, the latter of which is more traditionally associated with Beaujolais rather than Burgundy, she brings a delightful weightlessness and approachability to her wines. In a somewhat elitist and often reserved wine culture such as Burgundy, Fanny explains that there are not a lot of peers willing to go out on a limb to give a newcomer advice, nor does avant-garde winemaking often win the praise of the ancien regime; yet her new-wave approach continues to impress with delicious wines of terroir, proving that she does best keeping her own counsel anyway.