Dario Serrentino was selling his grapes to winemakers and eventually realized he could make the wine himself — and that there was a market for his modest level of production in places like New York. This shift has been happening a lot in the past few decades, empowering to families and farmers in many ways and has transformed not only Burgundy and Champagne, but less-rarefied regions like the Val di Nota in southeast Sicily, where Dario makes the Il Mortellito wines.
Dario's viticulture practices were at a level that Sicilian natural-wine celebrity Frank Cornelissen was purchasing his grapes until a few years ago. The wines that Dario makes from his own fruit are different from Cornelissen's but he manages to retain some important similarities: mainly, that these wines are simultaneously intellectual and thirst-quenching. Engaging and refreshing is a pretty dangerous combination, and that is true of any wine. The fact that these are all under $30 is just plain exciting.