Waltana is a product of one of California’s most talented apple breeders, Albert Etter.
Partially named for Etter’s brother Walter, the apple has a reputation as one of the master’s best works.
Waltana challenged me to identify its unusual flavors.
Medium-to-large, round and only slightly ribbed, this apple has a patch of flattened indentations that I might have dismissed had not Fred Menge of the California Rare Fruit Growers told me they are characteristic of this apple.
|This dent is characteristic of the breed, according to Freddy Menge.|
The peel is glossy, and tiny lenticels are hard to spot.
The fruit's flesh is breaking crisp, light yellow, and quite juicy.
Waltana's firm crunch is satisfying and the flavors are rich, sweet, and fleeting. These do not last and each medium-grained bite ends as a mix of pulp and peel with lots of texture but very little flavor.
I am really having trouble identifying the flavors, pleasing though they are. The closest I can get is apricot and berries, along with some generic sweet cider. But there is something else I have not described well. Almond extract, perhaps.
In any case, the texture and flavor make a winning combination. However, I feel my example did not live up fully to this apple’s reputation.
Waltana is a seedling of Wagener. The pollen parent is uncertain.
A few authorities say that Waltana benefits from a some cold nights on the tree, from more time on the tree, and from storage. My sample grew in the Monterey Bay area of California and probably did not have any of that.
Waltana is also said to be a good keeper. It would have been nice to have had more than one sample to see if Waltana improves in storage. (However, I was lucky to get even one.)
Most of what I know of Etter and his apples I learned from a fascinating web page maintained by the pomologically sophisticated Greenmantle Nursery.
Other excellent Etter apples I have enjoyed are delightful Crimson Gold, startling Pink Pearl, and incomparable (at peak) Wickson.