We asked Scott Dixon, chef and owner of Scott's on the Square in Gainesville, what entree and wine he would prefer to see paired together. Here's what he told us.
Entree choice: Eight-Bone New Zealand rack of lamb
"In the restaurant, this is on our regular menu as the Espresso Rubbed New Zealand Rack of Lamb. This is a unique presentation consisting of an espresso and cocoa dry rub that is seared onto the rack of lamb to roast the cocoa and coffee flavors. We then finish this dish in the oven to the desired temperature. I recommend medium rare to medium. We slice the rack into two bone chops and make a standing cage of the bones on the plate. The rack is accompanied by a semi-sweet chocolate sauce with a light hint of orange.
"I came up with this dish in a roundabout way. I wanted to do something different from the traditional herb-crusted rack of lamb. I had done a coffee-rubbed beef tenderloin in the past and thought that might lend itself to the lamb preparation. So that was the beginning. The first try was good but I thought it was missing something. I just happened to have some cocoa around and gave that a try with the espresso and really liked the flavors. The next challenge was the sauce. The sauce needed to be bold to stand up to the strong flavors in the lamb, and on a whim I said, ‘OK how about a baker's chocolate or something like that?' And now you know the secret!"
Wine choice: 2005 Chemin de Moscou
"This is a fantastic French red from Domaine Gayda. This is a Vin de Pays d'Oc composed of 55 percent syrah, 40 percent grenache and 5 percent cinsault. The wine gives intense flavors of pepper and spices with juniper and blackberries. It has a deep palate and strong aromas of red fruit. This wine is aged 21 months in French oak.
"After tasting the depth and complexity of this wine and the beautiful flavor profile, I knew it needed a strong dish to complement it. The same is true with my lamb. The bold combination of very rich flavors needed a wine that could stand up to and ultimately complement the dish."