I started my recent wine tour of the Okanagan Valley a little early, right in Vancouver, to be precise. This time I left behind my own car in favour of a swish, spacious and sporty, titanium 2013 Acura RDX Tech, courtesy of Acura Canada—just like the one in The Avengers!
Aside from just about everything else, it comes equipped with a pretty comprehensive on-board Navigation System, that includes Zagat Survey restaurants—and how to find them. (We’re the local editor for Zagat Vancouver / Victoria /Whistler – and now Okanagan survey).
The restaurant info is a boon to anyone, foodie or otherwise, visiting a new city. It’s quite intuitive and presents Zagat-rated restaurants on demand, as well as winery directions and a host of other info. Input your preferred cuisine in a a given area and you’ll be given a line-up of close-by restaurants, along with Google mapped distances, their Zagat rating—and an option to hands free dial in for a reso right away.
Meanwhile, back on the wine route …
Even if you have a designated driver, wine touring can be a challenging affair. As far as we’re concerned, anything that makes it easier is worthwhile.
Before I headed out, I knew we’d be visiting Tantalus Vineyards (not to mention several other wineries) so I plugged it in to the system.
Once we got the hang of it, entering the winery name (which pops up from a selection broken down by city / region) was easy. In no time we had our preferred route. (Not that we need a GPS to find the Okanagan Valley. But some might.)
More importantly, once close to the destination, we got turn by turn instructions as to how to find this state-of-the-art LEED certified winery on Kelowna’s elevated east bench. It was a great help, as even though we’ve been there several times before, Tantalus can be challenging to find.
We can see using Acura’s system to figure out the entire day’s visits ahead of time would make a lot of sense. And also help plan the best routes—invaluable, especially in an area with which you’re not familiar. (As it happens, the on-board Google based winery info was more up to date than the current Zagat Okanagan resto info, which is available but hadn’t quite made into my system.)
We don’t review cars. (Although we did have a brief fling at it once…) But we do love driving good wheels. And this cross-over’s a treat—with its ultra-comfortable interior and memory controlled driver’s seat and impressive sound system that synced with our iTunes and phone’s Blue Tooth in a snap.
On the road, under the hood, Acura’s six cylinder, 273 hp, 3.5 litre 6-speed engine is a delight, with plenty of pick-up when you need it. We especially appreciated the firm ride, and the quick shift paddles that saved a lot of braking in the mountains between Hope and the Okanagan Valley. In the Similkameen it was challenging to keep the Acura RDX within the limit, especially when passing with such ease.
The key fob remote controlled open and close rear door is really useful for loading in cases of wine, too. You could pack a small cellar in here with no problem. And the back-up camera means you won’t run over any unsuspecting cellar hands!
Fuel economy? We managed 10.4 litres per 100 km. (27.2 mpg imp / 22.6 mpg US.) Seems pretty good, considering we were driving fairly assertively most of the time.
We’ll get to the rest of the wines (and a whole lot more on the trip) shortly but for now we’ll pair the Acura RDX with Tantalus Riesling 2011: It’s sleek, lean and refined, with firm structure and a vibrant personality—that shows way more than its asking price.