I’m noticing that several of the later season dessert apples that are ripe now or in the last couple weeks have considerably more tannic flavor than I’d have expected.
Two varieties when eaten out of hand that seem to have some considerable tannic/dry character are:
Chieftain (it really seems to have tannins to me)
Smoothee Golden Delicious
The tannins seem to be mostly skin-bound. Do they come through in the juice?
If they do then I think Chieftain might be worth planting for its dual-purpose nature.
Am I crazy?
I’m always on the lookout for apples with good tannin. I have an unknown crab that is very tannic that I am propagating for cider. I have another unknown which would be great for cider except its too early for me.
Recently I harvested a few Yates apples. Based on the limited sample it will be a very good cider apple, it tastes a lot like the European cider apples and has plenty of tannin. I should mention it is already known as a good cider apple, I am only confirming the case for that one.
Tannin in the skin should get into the juice. Maceration can help get more of it out.
@skillcult is growing lots of tannic apples in NorCal. He has crabapples, as well as some of the varieties bred by the late Albert Etter, which often exhibit some astringency. He discusses some tannic apples in these videos:
Have you seen this website?
They seem to do a good job of breaking down a lot of potential cider apples.
I had not seen that. Thanks though! That needs to go in the Scion Sources if it isn’t there!
Any idea what S/O means? Sold out? Bummer, if so.
I’m not sure why Smoothee seems to have so much skin tannin here this year. It doesn’t seem like it should. It will be interesting to find out whether the other late yellow apples like SunCrisp will too. I think the skin tannin in Cheiftain is like the bitter-skinned Red Delicious strains, and Delicious or Red Delicious is its parent (along with Johnathan).
I suspect the tannins of these fruit are relatively low, but maybe edging over the typical desert apple. I also think I’ll probably be closer to Scott than England in having less tannin because of climate. Even this: Cider Apple Compositional Data suggests Geneva had less tannin than Long Ashton.
I also would love to see @skillcult keep some of his more tannic seedlings with high sugar.
I have a big box of 3-3.5" chieftains staring at me. They’re excellent, Baldwin makes a very good cider also, sparkling-semi dry.
I will have my eye out for potential cider apples, though it’s impossible to judge them without making them into cider and I stopped making cider a few years ago. I know here that drought makes a big difference in tannin content. I’ve had very good success making cider from unkempt, unirrigated orchards where the apples typically have adequate tannin. Of course it doesn’t rain in the summer here at all, so that probably makes a big difference.