Five Questions with Rebecca Banks
Which producer or area do you believe in that most people in the industry disagree with you on?
I wouldn’t say it’s THAT controversial, but I’m a big supporter of Bordeaux. Probably because our group embraces French heavy wines lists, I can give the region a little more love than some of my colleagues in the city. But even if we didn’t, I’d still showcase Bordeaux wine. I feel strongly that the wines of Bordeaux are extremely diverse in style and price point as well as food friendly.
If you could only ask one question of another wine director, what would it be?
How much money do you make?
Which trend or trends do you wish would go away?
Natural Wine. Orange wine. Riesling. Verticals. New California. Discussions on Pre-mox. Beards on men under 40—yes it’s related–especially male somms. Pet Nat. Hard to find and get into wine bars in Paris. Natural Wine. (oh, wait, I’m repeating myself). I’m sure there’s more that I just can’t think of right now…
“ ..advice for a new wine director: Keep learning; Keep tasting, keep traveling, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
You get to see the French wine landscape in a different scale than most, what is the most exciting “category” in French wine today and why?
Corsican wines are probably the most “up and coming” wines out of France right now. The scope of what is available just in the NY market is expanding each year. I’m seeing a wider range of varietals, viticultural practices, vinification and aging techniques, and price points with each vintage. Only 10 years ago, I could count 2 producers on the market and now I can’t keep track. In general, the wines differentiate themselves from the rest of France with a foot in both French and Italian winemaking influences.
What is the best piece of advice you would like to pass along to a new wine director?
Keep learning; Keep tasting, keep traveling, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
What is your favorite piece of fiction where wine plays a role, big or small?
Sideways by Rex Pickett—total sucker for this farce of a story which was turned into an entertaining movie.
Peter Mayle—again, my non-fiction reading time is next to nil, so I have to reach waaaay back into the card catalogue of my mind for this one. I’m a huge fan of the Peter Mayle books set in Provence: A Year in Provence and A Good Year.
Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure by Donald and Pete Kladstrup. So this is not fiction, but It’s not a wine manual either, so I’m including it. I come back to this book over and over.
Note: all answers above are posted without any cuts or edits.