"Mouton-Schmooton," he says. "Whatever. I know people are into this wine, but I find it off-putting. It's too astringent. There's not enough fat. Sorry, but I'm just not into it."
At which point I want to stand and cheer. Not because Betts has just confirmed my own opinion of the wine—well, maybe because of that—but because if Betts can be comfortable staring down his peers and the entire wine industry and saying that he doesn't like such a revered bottle, then so should I and everybody else.
Sommeliers spend years developing their sense memory, memorizing data about grapes and regions and vintages, and assembling an ever-growing mental list of wine pairings for different meals and varying budgets. And because of all this, I'm beginning to realize that wine knowledge is not a sign of sophistication; it's merely a sign of knowledge.
Taste, on the other hand, that's a different matter.
Shari Caudron is a Denver-based writer and author of Who Are You People?, which won a 2007 Colorado Book Award. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.