Tartar Sauce and 2010 Reyes Syrah

Tartar Sauce and 2010 Reyes Syrah

By Beth P. Heiserman

Tartar sauce is a mayonnaise-based sauce or what we usually categorize it as a condiment. I love to read about the history of things and all week I’ve been trying to figure out when tartar sauce became a condiment for fish rather than meat.

Tartar Sauce is named after the Tatar people. The Tatar’s originated in the 5th century from the nomadic Mongols in the Gobi Desert. The Golden Horde, which were Mongols until the 13th century brought Steak Tartare to Russia. There are many stories, but the one I am familiar with is that the Mongols would ride and in order to tenderize the meat and maybe slightly cook it, they would put chopped or ground meat under their saddles and as they rode, it would tenderize it. Then they would make a sauce called “Tartar sauce” and enjoy it with the meat. The tartar sauce included oil, eggs and vinegar; which is what we know as mayonnaise.

But there is nothing in any books until 1745, this was published “aioli bo” with the same ingredients as mayonnaise in a recipe book containing traditional Menorcan recipes. Then in 1756, it was mentioned as “salsa mahonesa in a Spanish recipe book. The thought was it was named after the city Port Mahon in Menorca which is a Spanish Island. The ingredients included the mixture of oil, eggs and vinegar; which they called “mahonnaise”.

Tartar sauce sometimes has gherkins, capers, and pickle relish. My mom always added pickle relish. In this tartar sauce I didn’t add it, because we didn’t have any in the refrigerator. This condiment would be good on a hamburger. This morning my dad and I were thinking what we should have for dinner. Hmmm….we are going to the farmers market today and what should we get to go with this burger? And of course, what wine will pair? Sometimes I say, pair with the sauce, but if the star of the dish is the protein, then I will pair the wine differently. In this case, the burger is the star!

I think for dinner we will have turkey burgers with sliced red onion, tomato, alfalfa sprouts topped with tartar sauce, wild rice with cranberries and Brussel sprouts. I would pair this with Reyes 2010 Syrah. It has Aromas of fresh raspberries, plums, dark chocolate and a taste of smoky berries. Pairs with roast turkey with rosemary and sage dressing, manchego cheese or chocolate cake with a raspberry filling. This is a great wine to pair with turkey. Coming up, I will be having an event, “Leftover Thanksgiving Tasting” on November 30th. This is a great leftover to enjoy.


½ cup Mayonnaise
½ cup Sour Cream
1 Avocado, small, mashed
1 lemon, zested and juiced

½ tsp guava garlic salt

2 tsp pickle relish (optional)


  1. In a small mixing bowl, mix all ingredients until smooth
  2. Let rest, for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. Serve.