A novel nanocomposite surface is prepared by coating surface-adsorbed dielectric colloidal particles with a contiguous layer of gold nanoparticles. The resulting surface shows pronounced optical extinction in reflection with the extinction peaks located in the UV-Vis and NIR region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The peak positions of these maxima change very sensitively with the adsorption of organic molecules onto the surface. For the adsorption of a monolayer of octadecanethiol, we observe a peak shift of 55 nm on average, which is about five times that of established label-free sensing methods based on propagating and localized surface plasmons. In a first proof-of-principle experiment, the interaction of peptides with specific antibodies has been detected without labeling by means of a fiber-optical set-up with microscopic lateral resolution. To avoid crosstalk in high-density arrays, the optically responsive surface areas can be locally separated on a micro- or even nanometer scale. Accordingly, the newly developed optically responsive surfaces are well suited for integration into high-density peptide or DNA arrays as demanded in genomics, proteomics, and biomedical research in general.