Wine review: Palarea 2005 Tinto Tierra del Castillo w/winemaker interview

Excuse the drip mark

Paul Clear is a brave, passionate man. He’s been in the wine business since he was 18 and it only took him ten years to realize he wanted to make his own wine. But it wasn’t like he jumped a plane to Cali, pumped some juice into a bottle and slapped his name on it. He’s a hands-on, particular kind of guy.

Clear made three trips to Spain and tasted juice at 125 wineries before he found the right quality, price and terroir (what is this?). And now he’s happy with what he created. Proud even. And ballsy enough to send a wine critic a bottle, and follow up to see how she liked it. She did.

The Palarea 2005 Tinto is the current vintage and he ages the wine in new French and American oak barrels for 15 months to achieve fruit and oak balance (more about oak). And then he bottle ages it until the wine is ready. As Clear and the fat man said: “Sell no wine before it’s time.”

Palarea Tinto is a burly, smoky Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah blend. Because of this, it needs… nay, requires, at least 30 minutes of decanting or airing out in the glass. Concentrated dark fruits like blackberry, black cherry, plum and cocoa waft up, delivering a one-two flavor punch. Lingering with this fruit is coffee, toffee, leather and punchy yet well integrated oaky cedar.

Impressive for a first time effort. And he’ll be releasing a Cava in the fall, called Gran Pasion. Appropriate name for this new winemaker.

Sweetness: 1 out of 10
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
: $14-$16
Occasion: Bottle provided by winemaker.
Food pairing: Slow cooked ribs, braised lamb shank or other fatty meat. AND, try it with this cheese.
Availability: Fine wine shops and on restaurant wine lists in FL, GA, SC, NY, NJ, CT, PA. And soon, TN & AL
Paul Clear said you can find it locally in Tampa Bay at Toasties, Normans, 688, Universal, Zen Forrest, Trinity, Lou’s Wine Florist, Mezzaluna, Nature’s Food Patch, Central Cigars, Feathersound Country Club, Fly Bar, Grapevine, World of Wines, The Vine Bar, Grapevine, Jans Wine and Booze, Cork and Olive Brandon & Valrico, Wine Harvest, New Tampa Wine and Spirits, Blend Lounge.



  1. I tried Palarea and was very impressed. It is a fantastic wine and have become a favorite. Thanks for introducing such a wonderful wine to Tampa.

  2. We are very pleased to offer this wonderful Wine at our store Trinity Spirits and Wine in New Port Richey. We couldn’t agree with you more. Paul is truely passionate about his wine. We wish him much success and are looking forward to his next release.

  3. I just had the wine and can´t agree with your comments. It is indeed pretty bad. Corked bottle? Or just a poor winemaking.

  4. Tracy it is a wonderful wine, please do not drink it at 9am with a possible hangover, wait and enjoy when head is clear, timing is everything…


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