Elegantly sited on a redwood-shaded hillside above the Napa Valley, Faust is creating a buzz among wine connoisseurs for its trend-setting portfolio of cabernet sauvignons, all showcased in the lush romanticism and vibrant modernity of its new Faust Haus hospitality headquarters.
Faust Haus is the elegantly rebellious creation of Huneeus Vintners, which in 2016 acquired the St. Helena property, complete with a handsome 1878 Queen Anne–style residence. Surrounding the austere turreted building are century-old fieldstone walls, diaphanous Chinese pistache trees, and noble ancient oaks. Private terraces shaded by olive trees make an ideal setting for wine enthusiasts as they taste the complex and expressive wines The Pact, The Hour, and Faust, all limited production.
The signature cabernet sauvignon wines are superbly balanced with a voluptuous fruit profile and silky tannins. In the glass, Faust wines offer the discovery of the terroir of Coombsville, the newest Napa Valley AVA, where the grapes are grown organically. There’s also a delightfully fruit-forward Faust sauvignon blanc and The House merlot blend.
The Huneeus family (noted for its Quintessa wines) acquired 112 acres in Coombsville, in the less-known southern reaches of the Napa Valley, in 1998. Presciently, they knew the potential of the rocky volcanic soil and planted cabernet sauvignon grapes. The vibrant Faust vintages display the minerality and complexity of this newly recognized growing region. David Jelinek is the inspired winemaker. The estate director is Jen Beloz.
With views across the valley, landmark Faust Haus, a dramatic reinvention of the Victorian mansion, speaks of discovery. After the meticulous architectural restoration, Faust Haus was launched last fall. The black-painted exterior, complete with a romantic shaded veranda, provides the surprise counterpoint of provocative sixties-style interiors. Faust Haus has the confidently chic mood of an insider club, like the ultraprivate home of a stylish and well-travelled connoisseur.
“My concept from the start was to showcase our wines and maverick philosophy of wine-making within architecture and art-filled rooms that honour the history of the Napa Valley,” says designer Maca Huneeus, who spearheaded the project.
Architect David Darling of Aidlin Darling Design, with project leader Ben Damron, undertook the crucial task of shaping a personal wine tasting experience while respecting and amplifying the beauty and symmetry of the residence. “My partner, Joshua Aidlin, and I have a closely held conviction that design and architecture can enlighten the human spirit by engaging all of the senses,” Darling explains. The master plan by Darling and landscape architect Roderick Wylie of Surfacedesign was a contemporary intervention that respected historical authenticity.
Huneeus brought her world of European design into the interiors. On a recent trip to Paris, she found sculptural midcentury chairs covered in electric blue velvet that add a jolt of colour to the grey-walled library. Designer Ona LeSassier further blurred the eras with vintage wine books, a sixties French tapestry, and a vintage glass cabinet of curiosities, filled with historical artifacts from the Coombsville property.
Faust was named for the 16th-century German legend, which tells of a scholar who goes in search of unlimited pleasure, knowledge, and wealth. Influenced by this, the first-floor tasting rooms and library are tranquil, with charcoal-coloured walls. “The experience of quiet opulence downstairs turns to one of bright simplicity upstairs, analogous to pursuing a state of Faustian enlightenment,” Darling says.
Faust Haus quickly attracted a group of club members and devotees. There are plans for a roster of events, including musical performances and special festive tastings.
The Faust Haus is indeed cause for celebration. A dash bohemian, and classic in its history, it’s an estate of soul and spirit for the next generation.
Images provided by Faust Wines.