happy to hear your chico is fruiting on same year planted. Worth the brenham trip and the ~100$ investment, right? Chico seems to be a tough one to get to fruit in more northerly latitudes.
And yes, even though chico fruits during our intense summers tend to be dryish, the flavor is pretty good, we eat it like popcorn. Fruits ripened in cooler weather are more juicy and of much better quality.
chico and sihong are two of our faves, but they don't even taste alike. Hard to reconcile they are of the same species!
as for sc, it seems to be better-tasting in regions with mild summers. It still remains one of the more popular varieties, so there must be a reason why.
as for summer die-back of your li, i have seen it occur on our trees too, but seem to be mechanical/thermal damage more than anything. If resulting from some disease, it is a localized occurrence. There's literature have come across which mentions of jujus committing 'localized suicide' or something to that effect, to prevent systemic spread of disease/infection. Will post it when find it.