A while back Donna and I received an invitation to meet, eat and drink with historic Napa Valley winemaker Stu Smith of Smith-Madrone. The dinner was held during a starlit evening on the rooftop patio of their Denver distributor. The crowd was not too big and many of us were not very familiar with this fairly small producer. Stu Smith cut quite a figure as he spoke easily and generously with the guests. Husky and bearded, Stu reminded me of Jeremiah Johnson after a trip to the barber shop. His style is soft but firm, a real straight shooter. Some weeks later I was talking to a restaurateur who referred to Stu as “the real deal.” I could not agree more.