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The Cunningham family history in Mendocino County dates back to 1865, when Zina Hyde planted vineyards in Ukiah. A few years prior, in 1862, he had bought a 160-acre ranch in what is now Windsor and a ranch in Kenwood. He crafted excellent wines. Zina's son, William, followed in his footsteps, and William's son, Lloyd followed in his. Prohibition eventually shut down Lloyd and he began farming walnuts, prunes, apples and pears. He still taught his son, Bill, Zina's great grandson, the trade of making wine. Bill became a teacher and later the assistant to the Governor of California for the Board of Education but never lost his dream of making wine.
Bill Cunningham, encouraged by cousin Steve Ledson, owner of Ledson Winery & Vineyards in Kenwood, started Zina Hyde Cunningham with Ledson, who is the winemaker, in 2004 in Boonville, Anderson Valley. He was drawn to Mendocino County and the chance to source grapes from Anderson Valley.
Today, Zina Hyde Cunningham specializes in producing small lots of several varietals including Pinot Noir. Replanting of estate vineyards is ongoing and 30 new acres of Pinot Noir are to be planted in 2010. An Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, an Anderson Valley Reserve Pinot Noir and a "Shalee" Russian River Valley and "Shalee" Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir are offered.
The tasting room is located at First Street East at the Ledson Hotel in the town of Sonoma and named The Zina Lounge. The wines are sold through a mailing list and at the tasting room. The 2005 Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs are excellent.
2015 Zina Hyde Cunningham Adeline’s Vineyard Anderson Valley Chardonnay
14.2% alc., pH 3.31, TA 0.588, RS 1.55 g/L. Sourced from a Wente selection planted on 2 acres at 1,450 elevation on Steve Ledson’s 6,000-acre Bald Hills Ranch. Native yeast fermentation. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 20% new. Bottled without filtration. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Bright aromas of lemon-lime, peach, cantaloupe and buttery brioche. Discreetly rich flavors of citrus, pear and white peach with a hint of caramel. Slightly creamy in texture, with integrated acidity and a uplifting finish. Quintessential California style of Chardonnay. Score: 94. Reviewed September 24, 2017 ARTICLE »
2014 Zina Hyde Cunningham Julia’s Estate Vineyard Anderson Valley Reserve Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.52, RS 0.42 g/L, 99 cases, $68. Winemaker Steve Ledson crafts this wine from 10 acres of vines containing 4 Dijon clones, planted at high elevation on Ledson’s 6,000-acre Bald Hills Ranch. Native yeast fermentation. Aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 28% new. Bottled without filtration. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Very fragrant with elevating aromas of plum, black raspberry, blackberry, pipe smoke and cardamom spice. A gorgeous wine that is rich and full on the palate with black fruits, yet weightless. Delicious flavors of black fruits, spice, black tea and smoke. The oak a slightly heavy handed but the bodacious fruit shines through. Score: 93. Reviewed September 24, 2017 ARTICLE »
2010 Zina Hyde Cunningham Anderson Valley Pinot Noir - Barrel Sample (from bottle)
A note to be on the lookout for this beauty when it is released. · Terrific in every way at this early stage. Bright cherry, raspberry and red plum fruits with a hint of oak and sandalwood on a moderately light, elegant frame. My notes say great! Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »
2009 Zina Hyde Cunningham Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $48. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of nicely spiced cherries, raisins and cardamom spice. Moderately rich flavors of black cherries and raspberries with a hint of herbal oak. Soft and silky in the mouth, leaving a hint of warmth on the finish. Veers to a ripe, cooked fruit profile but not markedly so. Good. Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »
2009 Zina Hyde Cunningham Reserve Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 100 cases, $60. Aged in 75% new and 25% used French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Reserved aromas of dark cherries and plums with a hint of spice. The ripeness of fruit is right on in this offering, revealing flavors of dark stone fruits and dark red berries, rhubarb, clove, cola, spice and graham. More bones than the regular bottling with considerably more length on the finish, and displaying a very inviting, soft, velvety mouth feel. Beautifully balanced. Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »
2005 Zina Hyde Cunningham Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 370 cases, $40. · Perfectly fine elegant-styled Pinot. Red cherries, strawberries, baking spice, sparkling acidity. Easy to like. Reviewed June 9, 2008 ARTICLE »
2005 Zina Hyde Cunningham Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 370 cases, $48. 3-5 day cold soak, hand punch downs and pump overs, 14-day cuvaison, wild yeast fermentation, aged 9 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately intense ruby color. Ornate aromas of black cherry pie, baking spices and toast. Middleweight cherry and berry flavors which veer to the ripe side. Caressing texture with imperceptible tannins and little evident oak on an elegant frame. An easy drinker. Reviewed June 5, 2009 ARTICLE »
2005 Zina Hyde Cunningham Reserve Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 50 cases, $50. · The Reserve has a similar flavor profile but is ramped up a bit in fruit intensity and structure. Nicely spiced red fruits, impeccable balance, and my cup of tea. Reviewed June 9, 2008 ARTICLE »