Poitevin-Saintongeais is a post-medieval dialect originating in the South-Central region of France, an area bordered by the Bay of Biscay on the West, the Loire River to the North and the Gironde River of Bordeaux to the South. The area is currently referred to as the Poitou region, divided into three departments: Vendee to the West; Deux-Sevres in the center, and Vienne in the East.
The area fell to the Visigoths in 418 AD, and to the Franks in 507 AD, and became a part of the French crown after the Hundred Years' War. The Golden Age occurred in the 11th and 12th Century, which is characterized by the abundant Romanesque art and architecture found throughout the area. The dialect was first used in print in 1554, in early accounts of French theatrical pieces and dramatic monolouges, and is considered one of the earlier Romantic languages. In 1785, during the French and Indian war, many Arcadians, who were decendents of the Poitou region, migrated to Louisiana, and formed the Cajun culture.
Today, Poitou-Charentes is a diverse region featuring sundrenched seaside resorts, some located among the famous salt beds that produce the rare and exquisite Fleur de Sel; lovely marias, known as 'The Green Venice', winding throughout the farmhouses and country estates that dot the estuaries; unspoiled fishing villages, historic castles and world-famous architecture, and the famous Poitou donkeys. Food and wines in the region focus around the fresh seafood gathered from the Bay of Biscay, and crisp, aromatic whites.
The Poitevin dialect was the language of artists and scientists. One such scientist, as well as a renown modern philosophist, is Rene Descartes. Born in Indre-et-Loire, he studied at the University of Poitiers. A chemistry term that has been used by Descartes is one that is part of the ancient Poitevin-Saintongeais dialect, which roughly translates as 'a suspended particle in a liquid'. The word is 'abaluche'.
Some families in France that have decendents from Poitou have used the word in casual slang, to mean either 'to propose a second glass of aperitif', or as a name for the cookies or nuts that accompanied an apertif.
Whether in the context of science, food, or drink, it seems that 'abaluche' has the underlying definition of celebration. When I think of a suspended particle in a liquid, I immediately think of a champagne bubble. Proposing a second aperitif reminds me of the toasts I enjoy with friends and family. And what good is wine or aperitif without a tasty little snack to highlight the flavors of the drink?
I hope to visit this very special region of France someday. I have a feeling there will be a lot more connections with this beautiful place and Abaluche Wine Company. And I hope that as I go forward in developing wine and building the Company, the principles and expressions of the various definitions of 'abaluche' are reflected. In the meantime, raise a glass and toast to all of the blessings in our lives. Abaluche!