France’s two main newspapers have slammed the 2008 vintage, saying poor weather has jeopardised the quality of the harvest across the country.

In articles published late last week, both Le Monde and Le Figaro painted a bleak picture of this year’s wines, the latter saying 2008 ‘promised neither quality nor quantity’.

A similarly negative Le Monde said its readers ‘should not expect answers [from winemakers] when all the conditions that go in to making a great vintage do not come together’.

The newspaper added: ‘In the most difficult years, we are reminded that nothing is decided, that sun at the end of September and the first half of October can still correct the situation – this is the case in 2008.’

The paper said that Bordeaux would be neither ‘mythical’ nor ‘atypical’ but ‘simply classic’. Talking of the elevated levels of rainfall in Burgundy, Le Monde also claimed that there were strong rumours in the region that, for organic and biodynamic growers, the vintage would ‘barely exist’.

Franck Crouzet, of negociant giant Castel Freres, told Le Figaro the harvest had been ‘extremely difficult’.

The newspaper, which last year compared the 2006 vintage with that of 1982, also highlighted poor sales figures at the annual Foires aux Vins wine promotions in French supermarkets.

In terms of quantity, only Champagne and Alsace are set to report an increase in production this year.

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Written by Oliver Styles