Tuscany is considered to be one of the most noted Italian wine regions, offering a wide variety of internationally acclaimed wines such as Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The region is exceptionally picturesque, with beautiful hills and valleys, country roads and hilltop villages. Even without any of this, the region stands strong by the merits of its wine production alone. Sangiovese is one such grape variety that flourishes on such hillside vineyards, performing best in direct sunlight. It is the dominant grape used in all but one of Tuscany's seven red-wine DOCGs. With the rise in popularity of Tuscan wines, cabernet sauvignon has increased in popularity in Tuscany. Other Bordeaux varieties have also become increasingly popular amongst some wine makers. Despite this increase in international varieties used in Tuscan wines, native varieties are still by far most popular. Although most famous for its reds, Tuscany produces several unusual whites, one of which has secured DOCG status (Vernaccia di San Gimignano). The region's unusual terroir is key to its success. Several factors contribute to an ideal enviornment for grape cultivation: Coastal and mountain climates, a good combination of well-drained and dry soils mainly rich in sand and clay and moderately hilly terrain extending towards the Apennine Mountains. Warm temperatures coming off the coast, combined with cool breezes from the hills, create a multitude of microclimates. Vineyards planted on hillsides benefit from higher diurnal temperature variation, thus helping maintain the grape's balance of sugars, acidity and aromatic qualities.