Hunter’s Style Chicken and Cantina di Filippo #ItalianFWT

Italian Food Wine & Travel Does Comfort Food February
Our Italian Food, Wine and Travel group is highlighting our favorite wintertime comfort foods: braised meats and stews. We typically think of beef or pork for these dishes. Do we think of chicken, why not? Chicken can figure into delicious slow cooked meals with the best red meats. Today, I decided to travel (virtually) back to Umbria for hunter’s chicken and a couple wines from Cantina di Filippo in Montefalco.

Cantina di Filippo
In early 2019, I attended Anteprima Sagrantino on a press trip, and what an experience! One of my favorite visits was with Roberto at Cantina di Filippo. Roberto farms his organic certified vineyards with horses for the heavy work, chickens in lieu of pesticides and geese as his weed control. I covered my visit and interview with Roberto in this post back in 2019.

Cantina di Filippo “Farandola” Trebbiano Spoletino IGT Umbria 2017 (Purchased in Montefalco, online here in Europe)

Eye: Medium amber
Nose: Medium plus intensity aromas of orange rind, dried apricots, dried peaches, cinnamon, sage
Mouth: Dry, medium acidity, full body with a rich texture, medium alcohol, medium plus intensity and a long finish of dried orange rind.
Observations: Although not fermented on the skins, I think the grapes had a period of pre-fermentation skin contact for all that color, flavor and almost a red-wine texture.

Trebbiano Spoletino must not be confused with Trebbiano Toscano, aka Ugni Blanc. Trebbiano Spoletino is unrelated to the other unremarkable Trebbiano, and it produces wines which are fuller bodied, more aromatic and worthy of aging. An additional note is that Trebbiano Spoletino has drawn winemakers’ interest in Umbria resulting in a range of wines from traditional white wines to examples  fermented on their skins, and even amphora aged versions. Lots to explore!

Cantina di Filippo Montefalco Rosso DOC 2016 (purchased in Montefalco, available online here $17) 13.5% abv

Sangiovese 60%, Barbera 30%, Sagrantino 10% Montefalco Rosso is intended as a more approachable Montefalco wine compared to the very tannic Montefalco Sagrantino.  With Sangiovese as the backbone, one might expect it to be the dominant character in the wine. Surprisingly, the Sagrantino cannot hide, even when it is only 10-15% of the wine. It adds dark fruits and body to the wine.

Eye: Medium ruby
Nose: Medium intensity aromas of ripe blueberries, blackberries, black plum, after being open a while, craberries emerged as well. Rosemary, thyme, and leather.
Mouth: Dry, medium plus acidity, medium plus sandy tannins, medium plus body, medium alcohol, medium intensity flavors, medium plus finish.
Observations: So interesting! Immediately on opening, the Sagrantino blue and black fruit was clearly standing in front. However, given some time, cranberries emerged, clearly an element of Sangiovese taking the stage.

This chicken braise is full of bright flavors – lemons, green olives, rosemary, sage and capers, with a little red pepper kick.

Hunter’s Style Chicken with Cantina di Filippo Wines
We enjoyed both wines with the dish as a regional pairing.  The bright lemon, green olive and herbs would also have been excellent with a Trebbiano Spoletino made in the more typical no-skin contact, direct press method which results in brighter, fresh flavors, or Grechetto, also from Umbria.

Hunter's Style Chicken

This recipe comes from “Umbria – Regional Recipes from the Heartland of Italy” by Julia Della Croce. It’s out of print, but used copies are available. I’ve made lots of recipes from this cookbook, and I highly recommend it. Chicken is a low fat meat, so braised versions don’t require hours and go from ingredients to table faster than you might expect. When making this again, I would double the ingredients listed below except the chicken. The sauce and toppings are so delicious, what appears to be a recipe for four, in fact feeds two at least as the sauce is concerned. Here’s what I did:


  • 1 package of boneless skinless chicken breasts, 2 breasts, each cut in half
  • 1 package of boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 4 oz. green Castelveltrano olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp capers, chopped
  • 1 lemon slice, 1/2 inch thick, seeded and chopped into small pieces
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes to taste


  • In a heavy dutch oven, brown the chicken pieces over medium heat in 1 Tbsp EVOO. Brown the chicken in batches so the chicken pieces are not crowded. Remove browned chicken pieces to a plate
  • Drain off excess EVOO from the pan, leaving about 1 Tbsp in the pan.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the onion, garlic, rosemary and sage. Sauté the mixture until translucent and cooked but not browned.
  • Add the chicken, olives, wine, vinegar, capers, lemon pieces and red pepper flakes.
  • Cook over a low heat, just enough to keep the mixture bubbling gently. Test chicken for doneness after about 30 minutes.
  • When chicken pieces are done, remove from the pot and cover with foil.
  • Increase the heat to medium and reduce the sauce slightly.  Add the chicken back to the pot and serve over polenta, rice or mashed potatoes.

Braised Meats and Stews with the Italian Food, Wine & Travel Bloggers
Take a look below at all the great ideas for a cold winter evening, you’re sure to find something intriguing.  Why not join our chat on Saturday, Feb. 6 from 10-11am Eastern Time.  We chat on Twitter at #ItalianFWT. We hope to see you there!

Here’s what the bloggers are sharing for the theme…

26 Responses to “Hunter’s Style Chicken and Cantina di Filippo #ItalianFWT”
  1. robincgc says:

    This dish is stunning! It sounds as if it was beautiful with the wines. The Trebbiano Spolentino is a variety I am unfamiliar with. I look forward to exploring this variety and giving this dish a try!

  2. culinarycam says:

    I do not have that cookbook and am on the hunt now. And your wines, as always, have piqued my interest. Thanks for joining the fun this month. Cin cin.

  3. I love the regional pairing Jeff. And you’re right, I don’t often think of chicken when it comes to braising, but given my (relatively ) healthy life style, I should. Thanks for the introduction to Trebbiano Spoletino. It seems as if it has more than a few “unremarkable” cousins!

  4. Andrea Lemieux says:

    I’ve not heard before of Trebbiano Spoletino but it sounds like quite a grape! I wonder what it would be like were it to be fermented on the skins if it gives those kinds of flavors with the suspected pre-fermentation skin contact?

    • Winemakers in Montefalco are trying every different fermentation you can imagine. I’ve had straight “normal” versions all the way to months on the skins amphora wines. All good!

  5. Lisa Denning says:

    Looks tasty, Jeff. Both the dish and the wine — can’t wait to try that recipe!

  6. wendyklik says:

    Sounds like an amazing dinner and pairing. My husband is not an olive lover….I wonder if the recipe will be just as good sans olives….only one way to find out.

  7. Chicken, lemons and green olives are definitely my jam! Not too familiar with Umbrian wines, but looks like I need to be. Also, I love the idea of letting animals do the vineyard work.

  8. Vino Travels says:

    That dish looks delicious! I’m sure your palette was on overload for the Anteprima Sagrantino. 😃

  9. I’m so intrigued by the wines – never tasted a Trebbiano Spoletano but it sounds complex and rather robust, always fun in a white wine. And so interesting that the red includes Barbera; is much grown in Umbria? Needless to say the pairing looks delish . . .

    • Thanks Lauren. Trebbiano Spoletino is definitely worth seeking out. I think Barbera is grown as a blending grape in Montefalco, nice to have something to soften that Sagrantino.

  10. Nicole Ruiz Hudson says:

    This looks so delicious! And I have to say I love the labels as well. Thanks for sharing these wines.

  11. This pairing looks perfect!

  12. Love the labels — and the care to the planet involved with what’s inside the bottles! This is a dish I bet my spouse will love, and I bet I’d love it with an orange Wine!

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