The wine tasting went really well in my mind. I only hope everyone else had a good time, too.
It was a blind tasting so we had 5 bottles wearing paperbag "shirts" thanks to the talented Dylan. It was bit tiring because I had to rinse out everyone's glass and then pour the next wine, and doing that 11 times is not fun.
An alternative: Maybe next time I'll pour all the wines into a carafe or decanter and number the container, and mark the glasses with a dry-erase marker. That might make for easier and less messy pouring.
Another alternative: Pre-cut cheeses so people can quickly grab the cheese that best compliments the wine.
The next alternative after that: Have three pitchers full of water and three empty pitchers and place them around the room (1 full and 1 empty at each place) so people can easily rinse out their glasses and move onto the next wine. I think there was a lot of waiting around and that might have been boring for some people.
The faves: Rioja Crianza 2005 Tempranillo Campo Viejo got some good responses. I believe most found it to be an easy-going wine that wasn't too intense.
Wolf Blass 2006 Shiraz had a good length of flavour.
Smoking Loon 2006 Old Vine Zinfandel was another good one.
I don't think any of them scored very badly. Most people found something they liked and at the end of the evening, all bottles were empty which is always a good sign :)
The best part of the evening was seeing everyone drinking and eating together. Corny as it may sound, having good food with good wine and good friends is one of the finest pleasures in life. (Cue the throwing of the cheese...)