Sauvignon blanc managed to accomplish something few grape varieties achieve: international variety status.

The crisp white wine became a type that people know and ask for, and as a result, it grows in wine-producing regions worldwide. Credit goes to the producers in New Zealand, primarily the brand Cloudy Bay, for popularizing sauvignon blanc with its intense, pungent, herbal and gooseberry interpretation.

Today, few may remember that sauvignon blanc’s roots are in France’s Loire Valley and Bordeaux. The central Loire community of Sancerre broke through the wine market, especially in Europe, as the wine world overlooked the rest of Loire. In some circles, Sancerre, a 100% sauvignon blanc, became synonymous with a white wine. It also inspired New Zealand’s take.

The village marked by its walled city continues to make standout wine in high demand in Europe. Pickings in the United States can be slim — and relatively expensive.

La Colline Aux Princes 2019 Sancerre is bright and fresh but tight in the palate, showing modest herbal and lemon notes with a short, clean finish, offering a relatively simple wine. $19. ♦♦♦ 1/2

I happened to pick up a yawner. In the United States, you probably will do better picking up a less expensive Loire sauvignon blanc from Pouilly-Fumé, Touraine, Reuilly or Menetou-Salon. Some of these may even say “sauvignon blanc” on the label.

Sauvignon blanc is the most-planted white wine in Bordeaux but most often is blended with the semillon. (The Bordelais generally blend everything.)

Mouton Cadet 2020 Bordeaux has floral and herbal smells, tastes citrusy and finishes off-dry and more soft than many sauvignon blanc. $12. ♦♦♦♦

Bordeaux produces more white wine than you may think, all with sauvignon blanc as the foundation, including the affordable Entre-du-Mers and classier whites under the name of regions such as Graves and Pessac-Leognon.

Generally, the sauvignon blanc from Loire and Bordeaux avoid that intense piney, vegetal character that mark New Zealand’s version, which some people have grown tired of. You will find these to be softer and more approachable.

GRADE: Exceptional ♦♦♦♦♦, above average ♦♦♦♦, Good ♦♦♦, Below average ♦♦, Poor ♦