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Navigating the wine world

Lorraine Bracco,

actress, vintner, author

Q: My boyfriend is a huge wine guy and we're always going to wine tastings. I need some intelligent wine lingo to throw around so that I feel like I know what I'm talking about.

A: I always say, a good wine is like a good woman -- delicious, spicy, full-bodied and with a great nose. But if you don't like a particular wine, you should just say, 'I don't like the wine.' The truth never hurt anybody. I don't think anybody should drink a glass of wine they don't love. The only way you can discover the wines you like is if you taste a whole bunch. Don't have sugar or coffee before you taste the wine because that will throw it all off. You can't taste wine if you have acid-y flavors in your mouth; it's not fair to the wine. The cleansing of a palate [with water] is a good thing. Enjoy the journey! Not only is that a metaphor for wine, but a metaphor for life. Let him be the teacher. A know-it-all is no fun; men like to teach. And it's always good to learn from experts. For a gift, I would get your guy a subscription to Wine Spectator for the year; it's affordable and you can read it, too.

Lorraine Bracco, Sopranos star, owner of Bracco Wines, will appear at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Sunday at The Grand Tasting Village/Italian Table Wine & Cooking Demo, and will sign copies of her autobiography, On The Couch, at 12:45 p.m.

Coming Feb. 28: Star Jones on fair fighting in relationships.