Sunday, October 1, 2017

Reinette Clochard (de Parthenay) **

Clochard is straightforward enough: it means "tramp" (sometimes translated as "hobo.") Reinette means...whatever it is that Reinette means.


That part is a little less straightforward, but in regard to apples if you read the link you will see why I take the word to be a claim of a kind of quality. A reinette is a cut above.

So "Reinette Clouchard" suggests a quality apple, but one with a rough common touch.

Let's see.

My two Clouchards are mottled and marked with sooty blotch and flyspeck and just about every other superficial ill that might mar the skin of an apple grown in an organic orchard.

They are quite small. I do not take that as a characteristic of the breed, necessarily, since size can be a product of how the trees are tended and other local factors.

The Clouchards are oblate and only modestly ribbed, with a pale sage-green peel marked on about one sixth of the surface with a faint peach orange. RC's lenticels are tiny and would be essentially invisible without the russet or other dark coloration that fills some of them.

By the way, you can rub off sooty blotch with a damp paper towel; I did and the peel was a little waxy and shiny.

These are rock hard, each with a calyx clenched tight against the world. One has a faint sweet grassy aroma, the other does not.

Biting in reveals dense, fine-grained white flesh, with a very nice breaking crunch, but also a bit of a chew after the bite. There are some green highlights in the flesh.

The flavors are fine, well balanced (though on the sweet side), and, I should say, very reinette like. There is cane sugar, table grapes, lychee, and a hints of vanilla caramel and tangerine.

Both the color and the quality of this apple make me think of the Reinette Simirenko. The peel is a bit chewy.

Reinette Clouchard dates from the first half of the nineteenth century in the Deux-Sèvres region of France (between La Rochelle and Poitiers); it is also know as Rienette de Parthenay. (Also Pomme Clouchard and Rochelle, and other variations.)

RC is the pollen parent of Chantecler, another French variety.

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