Tuscany is one of the most famous and prolific wine regions anywhere in Europe. It is best known for its Sangiovese-based dry red wines - which dominate output. These include Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Arguably the most important of all Italian wine grapes, Sangiovese, accounts for about two-thirds of all plantings and 85% of the region's red wine volume. It is the main variety in almost all of Tuscany's finest red wines. The best wines of the region are officially recognised and protected by a set of 41 DOC and 11 DOCG titles. There are six more flexible PGI/IGT designations, with the pan-regional PGI Toscana accounting for almost a quarter of total production.
Climate is a key factor in the region's success as a wine region. The temperate coastal areas are contrasted by the inland areas (particularly those in the rolling hills for which the region is so famous), where the increased diurnal temperature variation helps to maintain the balance of the grapes in terms of sugars, acidity and aroma. Summers here are hot, especially at the lower elevations of the valleys. The Sangiovese grape prefers a large number of hours of sunlight, so the majority of the region's vineyards are planted on slopes to maximise exposure. Rainfall is concentrated in the milder autumn and winter months. Light snowfall is possible in winter, but fortunately spring frosts are mitigated by the hilly landscape. In recent years, the region has experienced periods of drought which have significantly reduced vineyard yields.