From its sparse striped blush to its lobed ribbing, today's apple is visually distinctive.
Riverbelle's red streaks are broken and spread so thinly over the light yellow peel as to appear orange. The apple's tiny lenticel dots are easiest to spot in the unblushed peel, where they are green.
Riverbelle is hefty, and her exaggerated ribbing reminds me a little of Calville Blanche. In some of the examples I saw, two of the lobes had grown so great as to make a kind of crease between them.
This apple feels firm and bears a sweet cidery aroma.
Biting in, the flesh is crisp but delicate, light yellow, coarse-grained, and juicy.
It is on the sweet side and holds some tropical flavors with a floral note, along with cane sugar, lychee, and a hint of vanilla caramel.
There is one distinctive flavor that crops up—a berry? that I just cannot place in my experience. Which is, of course, delightful.
All in all I could want a little less sugar and a little more crunch, but the flavors are of real interest.
This is certainly a good choice for those who do not like dense hard apples.
It seems to be a rule nowadays that any sweet crunchy new apple must be marketed as a Honeycrisp killer.
Compared to Honeycrisp, Riverbelle (sometimes sold as "Sweet Riverbelle") has that secret ingredient, flavor, but does not win the crunch wars.
It did, however, originate in the Midwest: in Wisconsin, near the banks of the Mississippi.