Want to get a real blast of a wine’s flavor? Try retronasal breathing! Sounds pretty funny, huh? It can be! If you’re with friends, you’ve had a few glasses of wine already, and you try this for the first time, you probably WILL crack up! Here’s what it’s all about:
“Retro” means backwards or behind. “Nasal” means nose, of course. Retronasal breathing literally means breathing behind the nose. So how and why would you do this?
First the why: Wine-tasting experts employ this technique in order to extract all the aromas and flavors of a wine. The mouth is connected to the nose through the retronasal passage. When you take a sip of wine, you do actually smell it somewhat as you are tasting it. As the wine warms up in your mouth, a broad spectrum of aromas is released. These can go unnoticed in the absence of retronasal breathing.
Now the how: Inhale as you take a sip of wine and hold it in your mouth (swirl it around with your tongue a little) to warm it up and release the aromas. Swallow. Exhale forcefully with your mouth closed, through your nose. BAM! Taste that blast of flavor! Smell those aromas! They will blow you away!
I challenge you to try the retronasal breathing wine-tasting technique without your eyes flying open in pleasant surprise!