Last weekend, nine of us rented a beautiful house in Aptos and proceeded to cook 3 days of excellent meals, reject only one of many bottles of wine (I returned with 4 bottles from my mixed case because there was so much other wine to try -- but we made sure to drink the Villa Ragazzi Sangiovese!), hike 8.7 miles through a hilly forest and on a beach, finish the NYT crossword puzzle in record time, compile a shared list of books and movies we wanted to read/see, assemble a Wayne Thiebaud jigsaw puzzle and then another one with many more pieces...you get the idea. I failed to elicit much enthusiasm for Negronis, new to most, so the Campari came home with me, too.
When we took the tour at Bonny Doon I had the opportunity to say hello to Randall Grahm. I hadn't seen him in person since late in the '80's when he arrived at Villa Ragazzi in an ancient Citroën DS to pick up the Sangiovese budwood we sold him. We found in him the cellar, ensconced in a sagging, stained armchair writing the winelist for his new restaurant Le Cigare Volant. Lunch there was the only meal we didn't cook for ourselves, and we're all still talking about it. The reserve winelist was what you'd expect: esoteric, intriguing, accessible and fun to read.
Recommendations: (1) cherish your best friends from long ago, and (2) try Le Cigare Volant for its organic little plates next time you're in Santa Cruz.