Anthony Dias Blue in Beaver Creek
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado Anthony Dias Blue lives each day among the worlds finest wines and spirits, but even a man of his experienced palette is inspired by the indulgent collection assembled for the upcoming Beaver Creek Wine & Spirits Festival.Blue, one of the most well-known food and wine personalities in the United States, is among the featured presenters at the festival, which is set for Thursday through Saturday. The event includes wine and spirits tasting events, a charitable wine auction, seminars and cuisine prepared by world-renowned chefs.When I was learning about wine, it was always really important to taste wines that people consider to be exceptionally good, Blue said from his Los Angeles office. For the neophyte to be able to taste wines that have been judged by a stellar panel of experts to be great is unusual.Thats exactly the rare opportunity that Beaver Creek visitors and residents will enjoy during the festival. The list of wines and spirits available includes Double Gold Medal winners from the San Francisco International Wine Competition and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, two world-famous events that Blue himself founded.Without question, the drinks poured during the festival are among the worlds best. And, as Blue points out, such treasures are not readily available.The festival begins on Thursday evening with the charitable 8th Annual Vail Valley Wine Auction, with its all-star chefs, five course meal and spectacular wines. Friday and Saturday include a delicious menu of food, wine and spirits events and seminars, concluding with The Best Of walk-around tasting at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.For many people, there may be no better moment and perhaps no other chance – to discover the unique hints of brine within a Lagavulin Single Malt Scotch from Islay near Scotland, or, as Blue describes, the flavor of sandlewood and lovely, subtle spices found in a Suntory Yamazaki 18-year-old Single Malt Whiskey from Japan.Blue became a frequent Beaver Creek visitor over the past decade while serving as wine and spirits editor with Bon Apptit magazine and director of the Bon Apptit Tasting Panel. Tony ORourke, executive director of the Beaver Creek Resort Company, remembers meeting Blue at a winter wine event and being struck by his gregarious nature and gift for teaching people about wine.Theres a mystique about wines, and theres almost a snobbery with some people, and they make it much more complex and daunting than people want it to be, ORourke said. Anthony is the antithesis of that.Hes such a great guy to work with, ORourke added. He provides people a clear and fun understanding of wine without making it over the top or difficult.These days, Blue is a regular at Beaver Creek wine, spirits and culinary gatherings, bringing both his expertise and an added measure of prestige to the events. When hes not in Colorado, Blue reaches some 50 million consumers each month through print, television, radio and the Internet. A winner of the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award, Blue has also been honored with Communicator of the Year Award from the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London.With regular TV appearances, radio shows, and an Internet blog, Blue doesnt tire of talking about the things he savors.Its the golden age of wine right now, Blue said. People are becoming much more sophisticated. In the next few years, if not already, the U.S. will be the biggest consumer of wine in the world.For more information, call 970-845-9090. To purchase tickets, call the Vilar Center at 970-845-8497 or visit http://www.vilarcenter.org.