Well Sir, I'm not going to get into a pissing patch, but I do believe that your wresting analogy doesn't quite fit in with what I am saying. Wrestlers have weight limits to even the playing field. Me, at 139 pounds wet, I would never have the weight leverage to proper wrestle you, regardless of the hours spent.
Back to my golf example, I am constantly amazed by the different body types of those in Championship golf. Look at John Daly. Big guy. Huge guy. Look at Tiger. Scrawny ecto-skeletal body type (skinny guy) yet on a regular basis, Mr. Woods has out-performed Mr. Daly on the course.
Wine is an alcohol. And I do believe that the ATL-5 (if I can abbreviate) also recognize when a beer or cocktail or flat out a straight-up Tequila is better suited for a food pairing than wine. Yes, you are correct that wine is often considered more prestigious these days than say beer in most parts of our country. (I'm from Portland, OR where beer is just as equally important!) But after a day of tasting, analyzing and note-taking over wine, (my job) I'd rather have a nice bourbon. Again, knowing some of these individuals, they might prefer to wind down over a lager, an IPA or maybe a simple gin and tonic.
I can not emphasize enough, knowing many masters and those who are attempting to take this difficult test that they are all humble about all alcohols, and the one thing that reads true...The more you study, the more you realize how little you know.
I'm not joking when I urge you to seek one of these fine men and women out. You might be surprised how much you can learn about all spirits and their food pairings.
Gorgeous Jr, for the most part I would agree with you. However, the tongue is a muscle with receptors. and with all muscles, if used enough while paying attention, you get muscle memory. I would use the 10,000 hour argument on those who pasted this most difficult of exams. Example, Tiger Woods was not born an excellent golfer, he spent his whole childhood perfecting one thing, and that makes him a world class-expert on the subject. People like the Atlanta Five and those who have already passed the Master Sommelier exam have probably spent at least 10,000 hours studying regions, soil, grape varieties, wind and their effects on grapes, bodies of water, proper service and of course blind tasting.
I think all involved would agree that the blind tasting portion of the exam is the most difficult to overcome. As seen in the movie SOMM, there are 6 glasses, 3 whites, and 3 red. Like you said earlier, there have been studies where people mistake "Two-Buck Chuck" for much more expensive wines. HOWEVER, that would not happen with this group of people. To pass the blind portion, one must deduce the country, the region, the sub-region, the village (if applicable) the varietal or blend and the vintage.
This skill takes years of training. My advice to you, reach out to one of these fine sommeliers, (I know some of them, all nice people) and see if they will let you sit in on one of their weekly sessions. You might gain an appreciation for what these five as well as others who have devoted their lives to better service and sales in the wine industry.
Creative Loafing Atlanta
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