Virtual wine tasting and top tunes – Robert in Lockdown – week 12

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In the last year, routines have been shaken beyond recognition and people have developed hobbies they perhaps never imagined they would enjoy.

This was never more in evidence than last Friday night when a group of musician pals, myself included, enjoyed a virtual wine tasting via zoom by Alan Irvine from the Scottish Gantry, based in Milngavie.

This was a hand selected and upstanding group of gents who occasionally enjoy a wine or two over dinner but whose general penchant is more for the dew of the barley than the juice of the grape.

And that’s on a posh night. More often, they can be found at weekends standing by the taps of Argyle Street’s ‘Teuchter Triangle’ enjoying the finest lager H&R Tennent has to offer as opposed to the finest vino from the south of Italy.

I was out of my comfort zone to such an extent that, just as I was loading up the zoom call, I realised that both the bottles had corks in them and I wasn’t sure whether I owned a functioning cork screw.

I have bottle openers aplenty, but cork screws are in short supply. After finding one, I then had to phone my mum and dad to ask how to use it without breaking the cork.

As you can tell, I am not your average attendee of a wine tasting evening whether virtual or otherwise.

It was a culture shock for us all – especially for a well-known Tobermory fisherman who joined us but, not being a man for either white or red, was instead drinking rosè.

‘How is the rosè is on the pallet?’, Alan the connoisseur asked. ‘I don’t know how it is on the pallet,’ came the reply ‘but the bottle was too small – I’ve finished it!’

I think it is fair to say the Scottish Gantry got more than they bargained for with this team but Alan put on an enjoyable and educational night for us all.

If you are more into wine more than I am and know where your cork screw is, I recommend checking out The Scottish Gantry.

The wine tasting that evening was not the only virtual entertainment over the weekend as I enjoyed dropping in and out of various cèilidhs and concerts.

The Glasgow Islay Association spread its annual gathering over two nights – with two separate videos going online on Friday and Saturday to accommodate all its fantastic entertainment.

I was also lucky to drop in on the second Taynuilt Cèilidh just in time for Sarah Garvin’s beautiful rendition of one of my favourite songs, The Parting Glass, accompanied by her sister, Anna, on the keyboard.

John Joe McNeil had the ceilidh moving along brilliantly as fear an taighe, keeping the homely feel that, as I wrote last week, will be recognised by anyone who has attended a Taynuilt Cèilidh back in the halcyon days when we could attend such things in person.