Rinse chicken and pat dry. If possible, refrigerate chicken uncovered overnight (this will make the skin crispy).
Preheat oven to 500°. Pick thyme leaves from 3 sprigs. Gently separate skin from both chicken breasts, then slip thyme and 10 sage leaves between the skin and the meat. Place the remaining 3 thyme sprigs inside chicken cavity. Rub 2 tablespoons softened butter or margarine on skin and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper.
Place whole chicken, breast side down, in a roasting pan with shallots. Cook approximately 15 minutes, then lower temperature to 375° and continue roasting 60 to 70 minutes longer, until juices run clear and leg separates easily from chicken.
While chicken is roasting, heat chicken stock in a small saucepan until simmering. Remove from heat and add dried cherries. Let sit five minutes, then remove cherries from stock and set aside. Reserve stock. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter or margarine in a large, heavy saucepan. Add apples and saute over medium heat approximately 6 minutes, until slightly tender but firm. Add reserved cherries and 2 crumbled sage leaves; continue cooking 2 minutes longer. Add ½ cup of the reserved chicken stock and more salt and pepper to taste; cook until stock is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish. Keep warm.
When chicken is done, remove it from roasting pan and skim any excess fat. Add wine and the remaining 1 cup chicken stock to shallots and pan drippings. Transfer to a saucepan and cook about 10 minutes over medium-low heat until liquid is thickened. Adjust seasonings as needed.
To serve, place chicken on platter with the apple-cherry mixture. Garnish with additional sprigs of thyme and serve with shallot gravy.