This winery closed down in late 2013. The winery facility is currently being used by several other producers.
Arger-Martucci Vineyards is a joint family run winery between the Argers and the Martuccis. Dr. Kosta Arger is a top cardiologist in Reno, their head winemaker, and also an accomplished chef having made a number of TV appearances. His partner, Rich Martucci is a former banker. Dr. Arger and his wife took their honeymoon in the Napa Valley and ended up being the guests at a luncheon of Joe and Alice Heitz, owners of Heitz Cellars, one of Napa’s long time wineries. This began a relationship where Dr. Arger actually helped out during a harvest in the mid 1970’s at Heitz Cellars and started making his own home wine. Arger-Martucci released their first commercial vintage in 1999 on site of what was the old Villa Helena Winery.
Their winery is located a short ways down Inglewood Ave just south of the town of St. Helena. Head West on Inglewood near the gas station that is close to the Dean & Deluca shopping center. It is a winery that you have to previously be familiar with or have a recommendation as it has no signage on Highway 29 and is often bypassed by the tourist masses. However, this is a good thing as it is typically less crowded then the larger wineries right on Highway 29. Arger-Martucci is one of the few Napa “boutique” wineries that are open to the public without needing a prior appointment.
A visit here is low key, relaxed and casual and is like walking into someone’s home. Tasting is in the back of the winery either in their modern tasting room at the kitchen counter or outside on their patio next to the pool. Yes, they are probably the only Napa winery that tastes you at a kitchen counter! If the weather is decent we highly recommend tasting outside as there are great views of the vineyards and unplanted hills to the west. Looking east you can see several close by wineries located along the busy Highway 29 – but here at Arger-Martucci it is quiet and when the vineyards are leafed out you cannot even hear the nearby traffic.
This is one of the few wineries in Napa where, weather permitting, you can also taste next to a swimming pool. On one hot summer day a group of people who had visited too many wineries shed most of their clothes and jumped in the pool unbeknownst to the wine pourers!
For a winery with an open to the public tasting room by walk-in, their total production is very low – usually in a given year they will be around 5000 cases with the majority of that being their Cabernet Sauvignon. As a result, their other wines are made in quantities of usually just several hundred cases. As of 2008 they won’t be sourcing additional fruit, rather their wines will be entirely estate grown encompassing their primary 45 acre hillside vineyard at 1300 feet on Atlas Peak as well as the vineyard that surrounds the winery.
For a small winery they make a wide variety of wine and offer a number of tasting options. Their Viognier is a wonderful wine, one of the better Viognier’s we have tasted out of Napa. They chose to make Viognier because when the site was purchased this varietal was already planted. The 2006 has a very aromatic bouquet which is often typical of Viogniers. It is decidedly floral in natural with notes of fuchsia and honeysuckle. It is very well balanced with delicious flavors of melon and stone fruit on the palate. The finish is clean and crisp. This is a great everyday drinking wine.
When we caught a smell of the 2005 Syrah we immediately looked up to see if anyone around us was smoking a cigar! That’s right; the bouquet on this has forward notes of cigar and crushed black pepper which also lead onto the palate. It is a big wine with dark fruit including black cherry – most normal people don’t normally taste leather for enjoyment, but if you did, you would note similar flavors towards the finish of this wine. It is a crowd favorite and as of press time it is their best seller.
The 2003 Odyssey is a unique blend that changes every year, featuring the best lots of the various varietals from their Atlas Peak property. This is a very good food wine and fortunately Arger-Martucci serves fresh olive oil and bread with all their tasting flights. Red cherry, herbal notes and hints of chocolate grace the bouquet followed by plum, red cherry, a little spice and a structured very long, but not overpowering finish.
Enjoy desert wines? Try their sweet Sauternes-style Dulcinea (2004) which is a botryisized blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. If you saw the grapes when they were picked you may not even want to try this wine! Botrysized grapes are initially quite unappealing as they are covered in grey mold but in the end, they produce wines rich in aroma, flavor and color. Lute Olsen the popular ex coach of the University of Arizona Basketball team considers this winery among his favorite. He’s spent many hours lounging outside next to the pool sipping wine. It’s not hard to see why!
Because Arger-Martucci is a small family owned boutique winery fairly centrally located in the valley it is popular with certain small group tours. Their trellis covered arbor is usually where these small groups will taste. During summer weekends, sometimes you may find Kat Martucci displaying her jewelry outside.
NOTE: This review has been archived.
REASON: Stopped producing wine commercially, winery is currently closed
Philip Fortenberry says
My friends, Kathy Glass and Don Ricard, introduced me to Arger-Martucci wines several years ago. Kathy and I actually had the opportunity to share in some barrel tastings with Dr. Arger, and when I finally received the bottles of wine I had tasted in the barrels that day, I was again in love with my new discovery. I’m so sorry I cannot get this wine anymore. I do wish someone well, whoever gets this beautiful property….