My experience with California-raised Spanish & Italian varietals has been an exercise in frustration. For example, I find a Sangiovese from the Golden State, which made me say, "Yes, this is the perfect varietal for California." Only later do I find out that the winery had yanked all the Sangio vines out because they weren't named Merlot, Cabernet or Zinfandel.
a few months ago I saw a bottle of, all things, Albariño from California's Santa Ynez Valley. I picked it up but refrained from opening it. I was convinced it would either be a sorry facsimile of this super-zesty, lime-packed grape; or I worried that I would fall in love with it, only to find out that these Galician immigrant vines had been yanked out in favor of Chardonnayaaawwwwnn.
This is one high-fidelity Albariño. Seek it out. Write the winery, plead with them not to yank it out. Tell your friends. Send smoke signals. Host a Cali-Albariño party.
Longoria Albariño Clover Creek Vineyard 2005 ($20-ish) - For those of you who prefer your Longoria Eva-like, pass this one by. In lieu of luscious, soft curves, this Longoria takes its style cues from the Spanish original. Longoria's Albariño is a pale, yellow-gold wine with scents of fresh lime, just-ripe pear and alfalfa (O'tay!). In the mouth, your palate will be mystified as this wine packs a zippy wallop accompanied by citrus-squirt flavor. Give it a go with fresh seafood, or pair it with a butter/cream-packed recipe like Spicy Oven Fried Chicken.
You can have Eva, I'll take "Al Longoria."