A Sommelier’s Top 10 CUA Press Books

It’s the tenth anniversary of the Association of University Presses’s annual UP Week, themed “Keep UP” to celebrate the history and contributions of scholarly publishing over the past decade. As the blog tour train rolls into our station, we asked a sommelier friend of ours, Sherry Pinot Bordeaux*, to come in and pick the ten best books we’ve produced in the past ten years.

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The Light of Christ: An Introduction to Catholicism by Thomas Joseph White, OP

The perfect choice for the uninitiated, this popular selection offers the ideal balance between body, acidity, and dryness that anyone can enjoy. Georgian peach, yellow apple, and a hint of straw make way for a mouth-feel so pristine it harkens back to when you last hired a carpet cleaner. An excellent pairing for the homemade charcuterie board of club crackers, prosciutto, and cheese that’s slightly more expensive than what you normally buy.

Person and Act and Related Essays: The English Critical Edition of the Works of Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II, Vol. 1 by Karol Wojtyla

Originally developed in 1969 by possibly the greatest Polish viticulturist of the 20th century, this gathering of fruity, floral, and savory flavors all blend into a cohesive collection aged to perfection. The ideal light-bodied red to please all crowds while also bringing them something surprising and new. The perfect drink to refresh yourself with after a day spent hiking in the Alps.

Biomedicine and Beatitude: An Introduction to Catholic Bioethics, 2nd Ed. by Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco, O.P.

A marriage of several grapes, from young to decades old, this bold New England blend is perfect for the curious and adventurous connoisseur. Earthy with bright acidic undertones, with notes of ginger, lemon, and cedar reminiscent of a tongue depressor. Best served with cyberpunk novels or scriptural studies textbooks.

The Pope: His Mission and His Task by Gerhard Cardinal Müller

An import from the Rhineland-Palatinate of Germany, this is a 2021 selection with a history spanning 2,000 years. The wine itself is medium-full bodied, owing to years aging in an oak barrel, yet maintains a medium-high level of tannin as well, preventing the bolder flavors from weighing down the palate. Personal notes of cinnamon, molasses, and strawberry have been added by the creator to elevate its taste. Pairs well with interests in Christian history and biography.

Be Opened! The Catholic Church and Deaf Culture by Lana Portolano

This sparkling selection borrows flavors from across the globe and layers them like an apple pastry, crafting an intricate fruit-forward palate with ginger, clove, roasted nuts and white pepper notes, providing a diverse set of culinary offerings for the consumer to enjoy. Its expressive, buttery finish leaves you in contemplation long after your final sip. Complements prolonged, profound periods of silence followed by vigorous discussion.

Handbook of Catholic Social Teaching: A Guide for Christians in the World Today edited by Martin Schlag

The first thing you’ll notice is the fine aroma of jasmine and beeswax drifting into your nostrils, a burst of fresh air and sunshine on a rainy day. The clarity of the lemon and lime is textured with earthy minerals, giving way to a warm finish like buttered toast. Pair with the heavy ennui of modernity to bring out the flavors most sharply.

Living the Good Life: A Beginner’s Thomistic Ethics by Steven J. Jensen

The philosophical drunk’s wine of choice. With the finest Italian grapes that only grow more supple and nuanced with the decades spent aging in American oak barrels, the floral start makes way to coconut and oak, with an alluring aroma of rose, tar, and dried herbs that cannot be resisted. Best enjoyed in a Philosophy 101 classroom next to the pretentious English major who lives two floors above you in your dorm.

Logic as a Liberal Art: An Introduction to Rhetoric and Reasoning by R. E. Houser

A dessert wine for any time of day. Richly imbued with black currant and coffee, the middle is carried by firm, broad-shouldered tannins to a smooth, creamy finish. Cultivated in the American South with its heart in Ancient Greece, this full-bodied delight is to be treasured and revisited regularly. Gyros and olives make for a fine complement.

Renewing Our Hope: Essays for the New Evangelization by Robert Barron

Hugely popular among Americans, this is produced by one of the premiere wine makers of the West Coast. It packs a punch in its rich starfruit and vegetative aftertaste, with the perfect amount of dryness and body to balance out the acidity. Pair with a post-church donut on a Sunday afternoon.

The Practice of Catholic Theology: A Modest Proposal by Paul J. Griffiths

A wine for viticulturists. This full-bodied delicacy remains light and breezy thanks to notes of red fruit, cardamom, and graphite. It’s fine-textured tannins are complemented by a graceful finish of black truffle and forest floor. Enjoy with a newly formed library of old books that smell like dust and paper.

Check out the the hashtags #KeepUP #ReadUP and #UPWeek to see what other stellar contributions have been made to scholarly publishing.

*Sherry Pinot Bordeaux is fictional and not, in fact, a real sommelier.

Cover photo by Árpád Czapp, provided by Unsplash

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