I'm finding that it is much easier to pick wines to drink with friends that aren't big wine drinkers. They're easy to please, and knowing that my palate is more experienced than theirs, I know that anything I've liked enough to purchase is probably going to taste just fine to them.
On the other hand, picking wine to drink with our wine geek friends is much more difficult. I'm constantly critiquing myself on my selections, and always feel like I need to impress them with what I bring. If its not old, foreign, or a cult wine, it just doesn't feel like its good enough.
Now, I'm sure that this is pressure I'm putting on myself without reason. When I think about it logically, it makes no sense. My wine geek friends aren't a judgemental group, and its not like I'm picking Yellowtail or Two-Buck Chuck (which have their place in the market). I guess its just that I've been impressed enough times with what I drink when in their company, that I want to be sure I bring the same amount of "thunder" to the table.
To alleve this pressure, maybe I should bring some "secret" bottles to share. Wrap them in paper so what they are cannot be deduced before tasting, and see what kind of reactions I get. Maybe that's the way that wine should be shared between friends, with only the wine speaking for itself and my palate, not the label or reputation.