Heirloom and Hybrid Melons
You asked in Joe's marathon thread on melons if there was a difference in flavor between Charentais melon and its hybrids. I am having trouble scrolling in that thread now, so I though I might start a new thread to answer your question.
Bill said that Charentais, Savor and Trocadero taste very similar. I am growing all three this year, and find that plant culture and the stage of ripeness make more difference to the flavor than variety. There may be subtle differences which would be evident if you tasted enough melons grown in similar conditions. French Orange is a hybrid between a Charentais and a netted melon, resembling the latter, so would not be expected to have the same flavor as a Charentais.
One goal of people hybridizing Charentais is probably to preserve the famous original flavor. With other melons, they sometimes want to alter the flavor. But I have read a description of one Charentais hybrid which said that it had a light, delicate flavor and was sweet, but not too sweet. Maybe they were not trying to duplicate the original flavor in this particular variety. Read you catalog descriptions to see why the hybrid was developed - disease resistance, productivity, storage properties, etc. In a dry-summer climate like yours, certain disease resistance properties of hybrids may not be a great advantage.
Some companies take care to maintain the parent lines of their hybrids and others may not, leading to a decline in quality of the variety over a period of years. And some suddenly replace one hybrid with another for marketing reasons. Whether you choose the heirloom or a hybrid for your limited growing space, it makes sense to me to get your seed from a really reliable source.