Grouper is a mild fish that pairs best with white wines like Chardonnay, Chablis, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Roussanne. Grouper doesn’t grill up very nice as it is not oily enough like salmon, but you’ll often see it steamed, sautéed or broiled and accompanied by a sauce. The weight of your sauce should determine the wine you pair up with it.
You’ll also never want to serve grouper raw or with the skin still attached as the fish might contain ciguatera toxins. The skin of Grouper is too thick to ever be eaten so always remove it before or after cooking.
Red wine could work with Grouper, especially if the Grouper is served with an earthy butter and mushroom sauce, or perhaps served on a bed of truffle infused potatoes. In this instance I would recommend Pinot Noir with Grouper as this red wine is light enough not to completely overpower the Grouper, and the wine has an earthy element to jive with the sauces or sides.
Best Wine with Grouper
|Type||Varietal||Food||Rating (out of 5)|
|White Wine||Chenin Blanc||Grouper|
|White Wine||Chablis||Poached Grouper|
|Sweet Wine||Moscato d'Asti||Ca Kho Cam|
|White Wine||Bordeaux, White, Dry||Grouper|
|White Wine||Chardonnay||Grouper in a Cream Sauce|
|White Wine||Sauvignon Blanc||Grouper in a Dill Sauce|
|White Wine||Sauvignon Blanc||Grouper|
|White Wine||Torrontés||Ca Kho Cam|
Loire Valley Chenin Blanc & Grouper Paring
Chenin Blanc, when produced in a dry style, is a medium-bodied white wine with high acidity and a flirting minerality. The mineral flavours of Chenin Blanc makes a wonderful pairing with the subtle ocean flavours you’ll find deep within the Grouper meat. With Chenin Blanc, you’ll also find citrus, cream, guava, hay, apricots, almonds, green apples, peach and pear that offer plenty of refreshment.
Savennières which I wrote about in an early blog is a specific style of Chenin Blanc that will work with Grouper, however, it may be a little too full-bodied, and I would I suggest seeking out a Chenin Blanc that is medium-bodied for a better pairing.
If your Chenin Blanc has seen a touch of oak, it will fare better with creamier sauces, and if your Grouper is plain, poached, broiled or sautéed, Chenin Blanc is sure to impress.
Poached Grouper and Chablis Pairing
Chablis is an unoaked Chardonnay from France and focuses on the quiet side of the Chardonnay grape. Instead of loud buttery toast and vanilla notes, Chablis seduces you with minerals, hazelnuts, chalk, green apples, flint and citrus. Poached Grouper is going to taste incredibly delicate, and the confident nature of Chablis mirrors the sea-kissed flavours of the fish with its sea-breeze essence. The minerality of Chablis, along with the steely chalky texture, will remind you that your Grouper came from the sea as it harmonizes with the spirit of the fish.
Grouper in a Cream Sauce and Chardonnay Pairing
For Grouper in a rich or buttery sauce, Chardonnay is the ideal white wine to match this mild fish. Being so mild in flavour, Grouper often absorbs whatever sauce it is resting in, and a buttery and tropical Chardonnay will complement the cream sauce nicely. Chardonnay can be full-bodied and powerful, so we recommend sticking to something lightly oaked as you do not want to overpower the subtle flavours of this fish.
Aside from hints of butter, caramel, toast and vanilla, you’ll find refreshing flavours of apple, pineapple, lemon and peach in Chardonnay which help cut through the cream sauce and turn a bright spotlight on to the subtle Grouper flavours.
Grouper in Dill and Herb Sauce with Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp white wine featuring lots of lime, citrus and grapefruit flavours, which help amplify the mild flavours of the Grouper. With Sauvignon Blanc, you also get herbaceous and grassy notes that complement the dill and herb sauce accompanying your Grouper.
Most restaurants should serve Sauvignon Blanc by the glass, making this an easy wine to find out in the wild. Chenin Blanc, Chablis and Roussanne often require you to order a bottle and Chardonnay can be hit or miss depending on your preference. Sauvignon Blanc is rarely going to be oaked and is often unmistakable in flavour, making it a consistent pick.
Dry and acidic wines like Sauvignon Blanc are often like adding a squeeze of lemon to your meal. The zippy acidic flavours of the wine reach out and highlights all the elegant flavours it touches. Thus, since Sauvignon Blanc is always dry, it will go with plain preparations of Grouper as well. So, for example, if your Grouper is served steamed or poached and on top of a bed veggies such as asparagus, you will enjoy this pairing as everything will taste fresh and bright.
Roussanne & Grouper in a Cream Sauce Pairing
A French Roussanne from the Rhone Valley is full-bodied with medium acidity making it a treat for Grouper in a cream sauce. With Roussanne, you’ll find a white wine that is creamy, crisp, rich and silky and the weight of the wine complements the lush flavours of the cream sauce. Mineral resonates on the tongue with Roussanne, and this mineral aspect meshes well with the mild ocean flavours found in Grouper. Roussanne also has an herbal quality that injects its own personality into the creamy sauce.
Aromatic, Roussanne will deliver notes of flowers, honey, lemon, lime, melon, pears and peaches, which all make this white wine taste refreshing and divine provided the sauce accompanying your Grouper is rich. If your Grouper is served plain or in a light sauce, Roussanne is a no-go, as it will overpower your meal completely.
What Does Grouper Taste Like?
Grouper is delicate fish that has a subtle flavour. Grouper are a subgroup of the sea bass family and consists of a variety of different species. In North America, most of your Grouper will come from Florida, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico from Atlantic waters. However, you’ll also find Grouper caught in Mexico, California and the South America along the Pacific shoreline.
Grouper also come in a wide variety of colours and sizes, ranging from one pound to a thousand pounds. Nasau Grouper is often the most popular Grouper caught in Florida and it usually is caught and sold on the market at around 5 to 10 pounds. When fresh, filets of Grouper on the skin side should look bright red. As the fish looses its freshness, you’ll see that skin colour turn a chocolaty brown colour.
The tastiest species of Grouper (for North American tastes where we like our fish to taste delicate) come from the Atlantic waters and include Black Grouper, Gag, Jewfish, Nassau Grouper, Red Grouper, Red Hind, Warsaw Grouper, Yellowfin Grouper and Yellowmouth Grouper. Grouper caught in Pacific waters aren’t as popular in North America as the flavour is not as delicate (in most instances). Pacific species include Broomtail Grouper, Cabrilla, Hapu’upu’u and Grunt.