I was at a tasting of Spanish wines last night: twelve wines, blind, six each from the 2004 and 2005 vintages. The specifics don't matter, and although doing them blind was good training for the pros, it is also the best way to discover what one really prefers. Doing them blind removes the label from the equation.
We were twelve or thirteen, many of whom are wine professionals: importers, buyers, writers, and so on. The diversity of opinion was extraordinary.
One aim of tasting is end up with a ranking. The wine I chose as my favorite was the least favorite of many, and the overall least favorite of the group. (It was a wine with faults, which one could look at as pretty or not, as the case may be). The wine that was the group's favorite was the second least favorite of one or two. We were all over the place, and it wasn't a matter of lack of familiarity with the region.
And this was so for virtually every wine in the tasting. There were some willing to sing its praises, others to point out its demerits. On none of the wines were we in agreement.
It's a good lesson. Aesthetics is a matter of taste. While it's fun to argue aesthetic merits (a pastime I enjoy), this usually involves arguing faults as well. And there's something to be said for the position that the more kinds of art you appreciate, the more filled with beauty your life will be.
Though having truly catholic taste (in the old sense of the word) does perhaps reduce one's appreciation for aesthetic argle bargle ...