The weird hybrid wines that leave even the experts guessing

Some popular hybrid wines, such as baco noir, were created by accident. Others, such as a sauvignon blanc blended with gewürztraminer, meant to appeal to the Chinese consumer, are best forgotten.

A trend of sorts among my fellow sommeliers is sourcing obscure wines and seeing if any­one can figure out what it is they’ve been poured. We have been stumped and surprised by odd – sometimes weird – bottles of wine.

We drop hints as to the wine’s origin, with comments such as, “Can’t you smell the flowers? There are ginger flowers, hibiscus blossoms and white roses,” or, “If it’s old world, don’t you think it could be a little bit south of the Colares?”, or even “Not even close, try further east of Budapest.”

These bottles are not always expensive, but they are rare in the sense that they’re usually brought back from a trip abroad or, more often these days in Hong Kong, found in some tucked-away wine shop.