It does seem to have originated in eastern France and there is no mention prior to the eighteenth century, although one theory suggests that it is the ancient Allobrogica grape mentioned as early as the first century.
Mondeuse Noire is related to Mondeuse Blanche. At first they thought it was a mutation (as with Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc) but actually, once DNA testing was used we found out they are parent/offspring (we do not yet know which is the parent and which is the offspring as we never found the other grape involved).
Therefore the grape is either a grandparent of Syrah or its half-sibling. This suddenly makes the name it has in the Jura, Grosse Syrah, a lot less strange.
It does have a lighter-skinned mutation often used for rosé wines - Mondeuse Grise. This had all but vanished, but it was identified in the nick of time by hero ampelographer Pierre Galet and has now been replanted in small patches for testing.
As you might expect if you know us, we just happen to be involved with the winemakers involved in these variety rescues and got to taste the first two test vintages rosé of Mondeuse Grise.
New research in Mondeuse Noire, Blanche et Grise are still ongoing and it is not impossible that the web of relationships will thicken ("not a mutation", take 2).