We first came across the wines of Damien Bastian when we drank a bottle with Charles Soulier in 2019, quite late at night. We were struck by the energy of the wine, especially considering it was a single varietal wine from Chasselas, a grape variety generally known for high yields and producing fairly uninteresting wines.
We hunted down the wine and the producer, along the way discovering that the maker of this fabulous wine had been working in the Jura with the well-known Jean-François Ganevat since early 2018, following a four-year stint with Dominique Lucas. Damien’s background is in Horticultural Agriculture, and he has many years of experience in cultivating vegetables and developing complex systems in Africa. After working a few years in Geneva and coming in contact with wine, he decided that he wanted to work in nature again.
“Ca boit libre” is a play on words; drinking freely, and Freedom for Savoie (Savoie LIBRE), is the name of his estate. This is by far the smallest estate we work with as Damien only farms 0.75 ha of vineyards. Despite the small scale we have rarely seen someone so sensitive when it comes to the cultivation of plants and vines, and the result of his care is striking in the wines.
The estate encompasses two west-facing vineyards in Sciez, planted in 1985, in the appellation “Marignan.” The vineyards are planted on glacial moraine, a mere 500m away from the breathtaking Lake Geneva. With the arrival of the 2020s, we now have a full range of Damien’s wines, allowing us to get a broad picture and scope of what he is capable of.