California’s 7 Best New Winery Tasting Room Experiences You Should Visit This Summer
The Faust Haus, St. Helena, Napa Valley
The long-awaited reveal of the transformed Victorian perched west of Highway 29 just north of St. Helena ran smack into the pandemic lockdown. While it was possible to taste on the terraces outside the new, dark and brooding Faustian exterior, few could see the high-design interpretation of the legendary bargain with the devil on the inside. Now, the Faust Haus is one of the valley’s best new visits, inside and out. The themes of darkness and light are reflected on two floors of the historic house (with authentic detail, from windows to wood, restored): Downstairs, the walls are covered in dark, saturated colors, with ancient-looking photos of some very modern winery team members displayed. A striking mural on the stairway, by Italian artist Roberto Ruspoli plays with the themes as well, depicting the tension in black on white at the bottom, switching out to white on black at the top, as you emerge on the upper floor into light-filled, white-painted spaces. In the basement, the original owners’ cellar retains its Prohibition-era feel, with a rack of Faust bottles against old stone walls.
The multi-level terrace out front, surrounded by stunning oaks, remains the best place to settle in and taste. The sweeping view across the valley might take in significant damage from last year’s fire at the moment; still, you feel as if you own the region from here, as a talented team member brings you a clever box of snacks and pours Faust wines. The latter aren’t from around here, actually. The estate vineyard is in the south valley, in the newest and coolest (in every sense of the word) Coombsville AVA. Vibrant and complex from the lower temps and longer growing season, they contrast with the warmer-weather wines of St. Helena. Whether you taste it onsite or not, do take a bottle of The Pact 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon ($125) home with you. Pure-fruited and vibrant, it’s generous—even hedonistic—in the moment but has the fine-grained structure to go a distance in the cellar.