Should you smell wine with your mouth open?

Answered by Robert Dupre

Should you smell wine with your mouth open? This is a question that often arises when it comes to wine tasting. The answer may vary depending on personal preference and the specific wine being tasted. However, there are some benefits to breathing in the aromas of wine with both the mouth and nose.

When you hold a wine glass approximately 1 inch away from your nose and open up your mouth about one-quarter inch, you create a pathway for the aromas to reach both your nasal and oral cavities simultaneously. This open mouth approach can intensify the smells you would be picking up with your mouth alone.

By breathing in with both your mouth and nose, you are essentially combining the olfactory and gustatory sensations. The olfactory system, which is responsible for our sense of smell, plays a crucial role in our perception of flavor. When you breathe in through your nose, the aromas of the wine are detected by olfactory receptors in your nasal cavity. These receptors send signals to your brain, allowing you to identify and differentiate between different aromas.

On the other hand, when you open your mouth slightly, you are allowing the volatile compounds in the wine to interact with the taste receptors on your tongue. This can enhance your perception of the wine’s flavors, as the taste buds in your mouth work in conjunction with your sense of smell.

Additionally, breathing in with both the mouth and nose can also provide a fuller sensory experience. Some wine enthusiasts argue that this method allows for a more complete evaluation of the wine’s aromas and flavors. By engaging both the olfactory and gustatory systems, you may be able to detect nuances and subtleties that you might miss with just one method of smelling.

It’s important to note that the extent to which you open your mouth may vary depending on personal preference and the wine being tasted. Some individuals prefer a wider opening of the mouth, while others find that a smaller opening works better for them. Experimenting with different mouth positions can help you find the optimal approach for your wine tasting experience.

Smelling wine with your mouth open can be a beneficial technique during wine tasting. By combining the olfactory and gustatory sensations, breathing in with both the mouth and nose can intensify the aromas and enhance the perceived flavors of the wine. However, it’s important to remember that wine tasting is a highly subjective activity, and personal preference should always be taken into account. So, next time you’re savoring a glass of wine, give this technique a try and see how it enhances your sensory experience.