"Every apple has its tasting moment" - 2012 Apple Tasting
And the results are in. This year's favorite was . . .
. . . the Ralls Genet -- which typically fares poorly at this event -- followed by perennial favorites the Esopus Spitzenburg and the Ashmead's Kernel (see the tabulations below). Not appearing among the tastiest this time was the Albemarle Pippin, which has been listed as the top favorite at our annual Apple Tasting more times than any other.
When asked about this "turn of the table" (so to speak), long-time Monticello fruit-tree consultant Tom Burford explained that the Ralls typically has a commendable flavor after harvest, but it may be one of the few varieties that is benefiting from the higher temperatures of recent years, because it is ripening not only sooner but faster in the heat of the late summer. In contrast, the Pippin specimens came from a young tree that saw too rapid growth of the fruit, adversely affecting the taste. Moreover, Burford notes that the appeal of some apples is really just a matter of personal taste. As an example, Burford cites the Calville Blanc d’Hiver as always erratically rated. "At a tasting at the National Arboretum," added Burford, "one person scored it a 10 and another a 0 with the comment, 'Are you sure this is not a green persimmon?'"
The time of year versus the time of a harvest will affect the taste as will the quality and content of the soil. And even the year can make a difference with some being good and some presenting challenges for each cultivar. "But," Burford assured, "every apple has its taste moment."