3401 First Avenue, Bankers Hill
(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)
Between the twist cap and the tongue-in-cheek copy and imagery — “Giocato is made by Aleks Simic, one of Europe’s greatest (and most humble) winemakers” on the back of the label, while the front depicts a cat — it’s easy to overlook a bottle of 2014 Giocato Pinot Grigio. But as price point wines go, Giocato deserves credit for lacking any major flaws.
Smooth almond and white flower notes balance a hint of green apple and a delicate effervescence to give this vintage a sensation of heat meeting cool. The effect evokes a peak summer evening somewhere slightly temperate where fireflies dance through the gloaming as the air cools to dew point, blanketing the world in dewy softness.
It’s that bottled moment when the light is almost gone but for a brief second it’s as if somebody turned up the contrast on the world and every shadow seems alive and perfect, and it’s okay to have a laugh and share a joke because everybody’s kids are still behaving themselves (maybe chasing the fireflies), and it’s still warm enough that the cool wine refreshes at the same time as it fortifies against the coming chill of darkness.
Alongside a bottle of Giocato, Royal Stone Bistro’s succotash is not to be missed. It’s everything to love about corn and beans (in this case rich creamed corn and succulent favas), minus the hateful association of canned lima beans so many carry from childhood. The crunch from flakes of chicken skin keeps things intriguing, and each vegetable element stands on its own.
And if there’s ever any question over the wisdom of Royal Stone staffing the kitchen with ex-Whisknladle personae, let the pillowy gnocchi in salsa verde speak for itself. And the kitchen’s pork chop and potato salad is perfect with a glass of Giocato.
August is only halfway through, so we still have a lot of good, heady summer evenings ahead of us. The time is ripe for chilled white wine and summer dishes. Enjoy the gloaming.