After hearing about this variety for years, I am pleased finally to sample one. Wolf River is big, in more ways than one. Will it prove more than I can chew?
It's a hefty apple. My sample's 12-inch waist line nears King Luscious proportions, though the round, slightly ribbed fruit is somewhat squat and thus less massive than if perfectly spherical.
Wolf River has an attractive red blush that is streaky over a light greenish yellow; the streaks are quite dark in places. The surface is decorated with many light tan lenticels that vary in size.
Inside is fine-grained light yellow flesh, crisp but yielding and pleasantly chewy. This is the kind of texture you like for a baking apple such as Wolf River. For better or worse, however, my pomological yardstick is eating out of hand.
Wolf River's flavors are mild and pleasant, a well-balanced sweet cider with a bit of lively spice that grows almost peppery in the finish. There's also a little vinousness. The whole thing has an old-fashioned New England quality to it that is very agreeable.
No, I do not have any trouble polishing off one of these. As for baking, I should think you would not need many for a pie.
Wolf River may be a parent (with Stayman) of King Luscious. According to Lee Calhoun, Wolf River sprang from an apple bought "about 1856" enroute from Quebec to Wisconsin and planted (in the Badger State) near the Wolf River.
It's popular in parts of the South, however some say it is a "frost apple" that needs cold weather to bring out the flavor.