Max de Pourtales
- 1 wine
- 1 style
A Bordeaux-born winemaker of many talents
A passionate Bordeaux-born winemaker, Max gave up a jet-setting career in banking to return to his roots and follow his life-long dream of becoming a winemaker, with his wife Astrid by his side. In 1998, they fell in love with the magnificent Chateau Doyac - a historic estate with fantastic limestone soils and sunny, south-facing slopes - and were soon calling it home.
They’ve left their mark over the years, planting new vines and upgrading the old cellars. But the biggest upgrade on the estate came in 2016, when they decided to convert all of their vineyards to organic farming practices. Working with the utmost respect for the environment, Max’s philosophy is to make fine and elegant wines in the style of the greatest Bordeaux.
A man of many talents, Max recently took up Brazilian jiu jitsu and is also a keen surfer, you’ll often find him riding the waves with his daughter Clémence - an oenologist who’s also part of the winemaking team at Chateau Doyac. And when he’s not at the beach, he’s riding around the Médoc roads on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. Born to be wild, born to be a winemaker.
Max de Pourtales's Story
After an international career in the banking world, Max de Pourtalès came back to his Bordeaux origins by acquiring the Château Doyac in 1998. His wife Astrid gave up her life in New York on the theatre scene to be on his sides in this new adventure.
Max followed his passion for winemaking by taking the classes of the BTS viticulture in Blanquefort, a diploma very useful to be able to produce wine, and by working in the cellars of château de Malleret where the whole family was staying.
Then they both fell in love with the château Doyac, a magnificent vineyard dating back to 1850s. The 30 hectares vineyard is planted on the clay-limestone plateau of Saint Seurin de Cadourne. It consists of nice hillcrests and south facing slight slopes planted with 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet franc and 10% Cabernet sauvignon.
Their daughter Clémence, oenologist from the ISVV school in Bordeaux since 2015, joined the team in 2016 and decided to plant Sauvignon blanc on a 1,6 hectares plot and makes now a very successful white wine, the Pélican blanc of château Doyac.
Clémence and Max are very fond of surfing in the wonderful spot of Hourtin Plage on the Atlantic coast and used to work with Eric and Jean-Baptiste, two dedicated surfers. But they left Doyac to work in their wives’ businesses in Hourtin and now Rémi, a young agricultural engineer started to work with them 3 months ago.
Max and Clémence decided in 2016 to convert the whole vineyard to organic agriculture and in 2017 to biodynamics. The 2018 vintage is organic certified and the 2019 vintage is Demeter certified. The château Doyac is also Cru Bourgeois Supérieur since the 2018 vintage.
A typical day in their life is for example in the summer: they get up early around 6:am before the sun is too hot to strip the vines manually, then when it’s too hot, they go and work the soil with their tractors until lunch time at 12:30. After lunch they usually get some orders ready to go.
Outside of winemaking Clémence is a very good surfer and tennis player. She also loves sharing her passion for wine with her friends by organizing dinners and tasting together all kinds of wines.
Max has recently developed a new passion for JJB, Ju Jitsu Brésilien. He has a wonderful coach in Bordeaux and trains every week. Max has also a passion for motorbikes and he rides his Harley Davidson on the Médoc roads. His best hobby he can share with friends and family is making pizzas in his professional italian oven. He makes his own dough following the recipe of an ex-pizzaiolo in Napoli. And the result is just amazing! Pizzas and red wine are the best wine and food pairing.
The philosophy of Max and Clémence is to make the best possible wine with a fine and elegant style and to go on with biodynamic agriculture.