I have now actually visited this restaurant and wine purveyor in Okemos, Michigan and I have to smile because of the conundrum that I have about the name of this venue. If you search on the web by either name you still find the same location, though the domaine site is for Dusty’s Cellar, while the wine tote bags say Cellar Dusty’s; and that is as far as I will go into the name.
When you walk into Dusty’s you enter into the retail half of the establishment with over a thousand wines for your selection, and they appear to be chosen for their quality and variety. There was not a large section of the “heavies,” but they did have representation. The scope of the shop was for the average and curious wine shopper to make selections with out breaking the budget, and the majority were in the popular to mid priced wines. I was also informed that the majority of the wines offered in the shop were also available in the restaurant to compliment the meals. There was also a fine selection of wine accessories for the home or for gifts. I also saw that they had a fine selection of beers and ales, as well as supplies for the home brewer, which is becoming a large cottage industry.
There was a bakery counter in the shop, which also doubled as a carryout location for people on the go, and it seemed to be a very popular spot in the shop. All of the pastries and breads are made on location, so freshness is paramount. The retail side of the business also had gift baskets that could be ordered for any occasion. Another item that I noticed is that they maintained their own wine club and I am sure that it is a great way for them to spread the word on different varietals that the average wine shopper may not select on their own. I was also approached by one of the associates to see if they could be of assistance, as I do stick out where ever I go, I guess by my attire. We had a nice discussion about wines and collecting, and I did mention that I write a blog (imagine that).
As I was wondering around the retail half, my Bride and her friend showed up and then quickly disappeared and left me roaming around again. I was then called in to the restaurant half, by my Bride and found myself at the bar. The ladies had started with out me and they poured me a glass of wine, as they had bought a bottle to share with the others that we were going to meet as well. I got a chance to look around the restaurant and saw that they had an enclosed patio for when the weather was better, and they also had at least two private rooms as well for parties and events. Another thing that fascinated me, which does not take much is that the tables were covered with old wooden wine crates and then sealed over for a smooth table top finish. It reminded me of my cellar, as I had used the crates as paneling in my own room.
I noticed that the wine list had about thirty wines to be offered by the glass, as well as they offered some wine flights. There were about eight pages to the wine carte and it was very well presented, even with a little whimsy or tongue in the cheek sections: “on the fringe” and “blends have more fun.” The wine that we were enjoying before we went into the wine dinner in one of the separate rooms was a California wine. It was Talley Vineyard’s Bishop’s Peak Chardonnay 2012. This wine is from the San Luis Obispo County in Edna Valley of the Central Coast and featured fruit from Oliver’s Vineyards as well as from Rincon Vineyards of the area. It was a very light Chardonnay with some refreshing acidity and is what I tend to expect from most of the Chardonnay wines from this area. I enjoyed my time there, and I still have to insist that my Bride and I go there for an actual dinner, as they do have duck on the menu, but that will be for another time.